Dhaka, Bangladesh
Complaints against ride-hailing services rising in Dhaka

Complaints against ride-hailing services rising in Dhaka

Customers allege that some drivers are charging extra fares, taking detours, clocking rides before pick up and refusing to take them to their destinations, reports Bdnews24.com. Many say they have faced difficulties due to inexperienced drivers of Pathao and Uber, two popular services in Dhaka. Pathao customer Muhammad Asif Imran says drug addicts have begun taking work as drivers. He also spoke of a personal experience with the service. “At the end of the ride, the driver demanded a higher fare, saying the app sometimes shows incorrect readings. But, I often travel on that route, and the distance and fare were about the same as other trips. “He stirred trouble after I got off and began cursing and abusing me when I refused to pay the higher fare.” A person with the Facebook ID ‘Chandan Kumar’ took a Pathao ride from Sonali Bank at Motijheel’s Shapla Square to Mirpur’s Kaziparha. He says the rider took a long detour through Shantinagar, Malibagh, Modhubagh, Hatirjheel, Tejgaon and Mohakhali before dropping him at Kaziparha, claiming he was avoiding heavy traffic on the road. “The route takes 35-40 minutes, but it took him 68. Still, I had no issues. The problem arose when I wanted to pay the fare. The app said the bill is Tk 138. I paid Tk 140, and he said, ‘what are you giving me? Even Tk 300 isn’t enough’.” He eventually paid the rider Tk 300 because he had guests waiting and the man was creating a public nuisance, Chandan said. “I have complained to Pathao. Let’s see what happens.” Muhammad Abdur Rahman made a similar claim against an Uber driver. “He didn’t follow the route on the Uber map. After the trip, he demanded a tip. Where can I complain about this? Naznin Sharmin Shoma says that initially, Uber helped her avoid paying high fares on CNG trips. “But now the CNG drivers have lowered their fares due to the competition from Uber and Pathao and Uber is overcharging. Now, Uber just tries to take advantage of its popularity.” Kazi Hosne Mobarak said on Dec 10, he sent a ride request to Uber to travel from Banani to Bashundhara residential area, but the driver refused to come from Notun Bazar to Banani. The driver also misbehaved with him, he said. “I told him to come and said I could wait. He said he wouldn’t come, so I told him to cancel the ride. ‘You think you’re a big man now that you use Uber? Why would I waste Tk 300 in gas just to pick up a Tk 100 fare’, he said. Then he roamed Dhaka streets for 40 minutes, but wouldn’t cancel the ride. Can’t Uber prevent such useless drivers from registering?” Parvez Ahmed says Uber’s fares are too high. “Only in Bangladesh do they get an opportunity to loot. Uber’s fares are unacceptable. They charge Tk 500 to go 6-7 kilometres. Even with discounts, it comes to Tk 400. It is absolutely impossible for regular customers.” Mahmudul Islam posted a complaint regarding the fare to the ‘Pathao Users of Bangladesh’ Facebook group on Tuesday. “Usually, it costs Tk 150-160 to go from Gulshan-1 to Mirpur in the evenings. Now Pathao has introduced the ‘hot zone system’, and the cost has gone up to Tk 197. Even with a discount, it’s Tk 160. Sure, Pathao is a big help. But does that mean they can start fleecing us this way?” Another customer said he was involved in an accident due to an untrained rider who drove his motorcycle at high speed despite being unable to control it. “He found the road clear near the Mirpur-1 overbridge and began driving at 60-70km/hr. A Laguna was behind us. Suddenly he hit the brakes, and the front wheel skidded. The helmet protected him. But I was thrown from the motorcycle and fell in front of the Laguna. It stopped only three to four feet from my head. I got injured in my arms and legs.” He complained to Pathao, which said it would be dealt with. “They compensated me with a Tk 100 promo. But how do they allow such bikers for their service? Who will take responsibility if there is a big accident? And what would I do with a Tk 100 promo?” Abdur Rashid says Uber is a useful service, but all the drivers ask to know the destination before picking up customers, which is against the ride-sharing company’s policy. According to a statement from Uber, the company calculates the fare after receiving a request, the approximate distance to be travelled, and some other factors including the traffic situation on the roads. However, the fare for the ride could increase due to a number of factors including breaks, detours and road and bridge tolls. Uber says that customers should report drivers who refuse to travel to certain destinations, begin charging for the trip before pick up and misbehave. Such complaints can be sent through the app, they said. Pathao Marketing Executive Mushfiqul Haque Shomik told bdnews24.com that all the senior officials of the company are currently abroad. “They will discuss the matter once they return, they said.” Share A Motorcycle or SAM founder Imtiaz Kasem says there have been complaints, but the “total number is small”. But he believes the government should regulate the industry. “Many users complain about the slightest thing,” he said. “App-based ride services have many benefits. But new problems emerge as these services grow. It has become necessary to make a policy.” Road Transport and Highway Division Secretary Md Nazrul Islam said a policy is being developed for app-based transportation and ride-sharing services. “We will develop a monitoring system. With the increasing use of these services, the number of complaints is also growing. Someone has to handle these complaints.” The ride-sharing policy has been sent to the cabinet, he said. It could be approved after the matter is taken into consideration.

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