Chennai: The kind of safety offered to the passengers by the cab aggregators has come under intense scrutiny, of late. Hiring a cab a few years ago was hard, time consuming and cumbersome. Today, technology has made it much easier to book a cab. In just a few minutes of making a booking on the app, the cab arrives at the door steps. While there is no denying the fact that hailing a cab service has become easier, there are many potential threats and insecurities the passengers, especially women, face in matters relating to their safety. Instances of physical violence, abuse and sexual assault against passengers have been reported in the media, sending shock waves across the country. Though the enactment of standalone laws and framing rules may help, the responsibility to provide safer rides to passengers squarely falls on the cab aggregators and operators.
At the very outset, having a detailed verification process in place to ascertain the antecedents of the drivers is important. People with criminal background and poor character record can be kept at bay. Carrying out the verification process is the first step by which the cab providers can assure safety to their customers. Since most of the offences are committed by people who have an unsatisfactory track record, seeking the help of independent background verification companies and the police department to verify the track record of drivers can go a long way in offering safe and secure travel to the customers.
The Chennai-based startup UTOO Cabs, eyeing a bigger pie in the app-based taxi booking industry, is firming up the background verification process of its drivers. The Cab operator, with plans to expand to untapped tier-2 cities, has put in place a strict verification process before hiring new drivers. “Safety and security of our customers continues to be our top most priority,” says Fazil Badrudeen, Brand Head, UTOO.
Drivers at UTOO are selected after a strict scrutiny of both skill and personality. All our drivers have a face-to-face interview before being selected. Once selected, a physical address verification and Aadhar verification is carried out along with a mandatory health checkup. “To ensure our drivers have a clean character record, we also insist on Police Verification Certificate prior to joining us,” adds Fazil.
The cab operator has set a lofty target of becoming a name synonymous to safety and security in the taxi hailing space. “Taking on the existing players in the industry has been on the radar right the time of UTOO’s inception,” says Fazil. Currently, in terms of safety, customer-experience and cleanliness, we stand ahead of the rest, and this certainly will help us grab a bigger pie in the app-based taxi-booking space.”
At present, UTOO operates Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad with a fleet strength of about 1000 cabs, and has plans to expand to 8 more cities in the future. Significantly, the operator does not resort to surge charging or peak pricing at any point of the day. This means, the prices will remain the same irrespective of whether the cab is hired during Peak-Hours or Off-peak hours.