The allegations against the service providers include rides on contract beyond the mobile phone apps, refusal to go to the customers’ desired destination, cancelling trips after accepting request for ride, misbehaving with passengers, reckless driving, charging extra fare and violating traffic rules.
Any of these offences can lead to cancellation of the service provider’s registration and the driver’s licence, according to the guidelines on providing such services.
But Bangladesh Road Transport Authority cannot act against the companies as these are yet to be registered following the guidelines, BRTA Director Md Nurul Islam told bdnews24.com.
The guidelines stipulate that the drivers are bound to carry the passengers no matter what the distance is, but many of the drivers flout the rule.
About half of the drivers want to know the destination first before confirming the trip, Shahidul Alam, who resides in Badda area and regularly uses Uber, told bdnews24.com.
“I have read the ridesharing guideline. This (asking for destination) is contradictory to the guidelines. Besides this, most Uber drivers do not know how to follow the map to come accurately to the pickup point. And they do not follow the specific route and go in wrong direction. For this they charge extra. That’s not right.”
Software Engineer Rashedul Alam said the ridesharing service has made communication easier, but it has many problems.
“Drivers want to know about the destination after accepting the request. If the destination is inconvenient to them, they cancel the request. They leave sometime even after accepting the request. The companies do not respond to our complaints much,” said the resident of Mohammadpur area.
Asha Paul, an employee of a garment exporting firm, said the errant drivers of the ride-hailing companies should face the music.
The drivers asked for the destination in most of her 60 rides in past three months, she said.
“They cancelled the ride if they did not like my destination. Many drivers did not come even after accepting the request. The driver’s registration with the companies should automatically be cancelled if he cancels three requests in a row.”
The drivers of these companies must follow traffic laws strictly as per the guideline, but many of the users complained about reckless driving.
A young woman who is the resident of Mirpur’s Shewrapara area recently met an accident due to the reckless driving of a Pathao rider. She chose the service to take a speedy ride to her pre-wedding event recently.
“The driver was driving so fast that he ignored potholes. At one point, the bike fell and I got hurt. The driver was so seriously injured that he could not continue,” she said.
Recently, a Pathao motorcycle driver named Jasim Uddin wanted to take the vehicle onto the pavement illegally during a ride from Mohakhali to Baridhara. Asked for the reason, he said he wanted to avoid traffic congestion.
There is a provision about decent behaviour with the passengers in the guideline. But there were allegations of misbehaviour and sexual harassment.
A woman who works at a firm in Mohakhali area alleged sexual harassment by a Pathao driver.
“The motorcycle driver was intentionally getting close to me though he had enough space in front of him. It was very uncomfortable,” she said requesting not to be named.
The guidelines say the drivers of the rideshare companies cannot park their vehicles haphazardly.
But motorcycles waiting for trips are often seen on the streets of Gulshan, Banani Bazar, Mohakhali, Karwan Bazar and Panthapath areas.
A motorcycle driver was found to be shouting to attract the passengers.
The driver, Tuhin, said he calls for customers on contract when the rate of rife requests drops at noon.
Ridesharing company Obhai’s Assistant Manager (Branding and Communication) Shafayet Reza said they are very strict in complying with the rules.
“If someone behaves like this during the ride, the users can send notification by pushing app’s SOS button. We can take action immediately. We make a phone call first to verify the issue.”
He also said the drivers of the company have to go through scrutiny before getting listed.
“That’s why we don’t get many reports of violation of the rules. There had been a problem over promocode, but we do not get that complaint much nowadays.
Pathao claimed it always takes the users’ complaints “very seriously”.
“Accused drivers are suspended if we find proof in the allegations. If we get the same complaint against the same drover, he loses the registration,” it said in an email in reply to bdnews24.com queries.
Errant drivers were temporarily dismissed after finding the evidence. If the same complaint is received again, the registration is canceled permanently,” said the company in reply to an email.
“We are regularly working on how the low rated drivers can be brought under more intensive monitoring so that we can provide better services to the passengers.”
Uber said, “The safety of the passengers and the drivers is our first priority. That is why we urge Uber partners to comply with the country’s existing law and road safety issues. “
Shohoz Managing Director Maliha M Quadir did not respond to the calls and texts.