Users complained against specific Uber drivers for misbehaviour and sexual harassment of female riders
A rider left his smartphone in an Uber car. As the Uber app was installed on that phone, he could not communicate with Uber through any Bangladeshi hotline. To make things worse, the rider also forgot his email ID and password to log in to Uber website for filing a complaint.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police, later, helped the man get his phone back.
It has recently been observed that Uber Bangladesh is running its instant customer response from an Indian facility to minimise costs.
Users complained against specific Uber drivers for misbehaviour and sexual harassment of female riders. The victims expressed their frustration as they did not find any customer care or call centre number to get on-the-spot help.
On the back of increasing customer complaints against some misbehaving Uber drivers and the company's inadequate response to unpleasant customer experiences, Uber has emphasised seeking solutions through the app.
Uber, the world's largest on-demand ride-sharing company, has recently urged its Bangladeshi users to best explore its mobile application for maximum safety during rides.
At a programme in Dhaka on Thursday, the company's regional representatives disclosed a plan for reopening the local hotlines in future.
"As a tech-based company with a commitment of giving the best user experience and maximum ride safety, Uber has added and continuously upgraded features and options in its app," Uber's Regional Head of Safety Communication Barnali Das told The Business Standard.
Many users do not explore these options and they miss the benefits Uber offers, said Barnali.
Most users are even unaware of Uber's insurance facility that compensates the rider and the driver if they get injured in an accident during Uber trips, Barnali said, adding that this is the reason why they are holding more awareness programmes in Bangladesh.
A regional team of Uber led by Barnali Das attended a media roundtable on Thursday in Dhaka to share experiences and knowledge.
Both the Uber drivers and the riders may have unpleasant experiences, safety and security threat may emerge, a vehicle may suffer an accident. But Uber has its arrangement to help drivers and riders.
Different in-app safety features are available on the Uber app and these are the gateways to reaching Uber response teams in any unpleasant or unwanted experience, said the regional team's Safety Communication Associate Sneha Dev, adding that users just need to get used to tapping their fingers on the screen and communicate with Uber team.
Uber helps each user find a solution with its 24/7 in-app feedback, trip database, activity log, users behaviour record and its investigation strength. It also collaborates with local law enforcement agencies and transportation authorities through the exchange of information and cooperation.
Uber started its Bangladesh operation in 2016. Since then the country has become one of the fastest-growing markets of Uber, according to the Uber team.
The company started its journey in the USA in 2010 to solve people's transportation problems. Even though it does not own or carry a car, billions of trips in hundreds of cities around the globe have changed the way people think about everyday trips.
Safety features and practices to help protect riders
The Uber team has communicated some of the key features of their app through a presentation and expressed their plan to arrange new awareness campaigns in Bangladesh in future as the company is approaching its third anniversary here.
The Uber app allows you to call a ride when you are ready, and lets you know when it arrives, so you do not have to stand in the street while you wait. All trips are GPS-tracked, and you can see the route and your car's real-time location marked on the app throughout your journey.
Rider Safety Toolkit: A friend in need
Tapping on the shield icon, located on the home screen of the app, riders can reach the Safety Toolkit and learn all about Uber's insurance coverage, and community guidelines from the Safety Centre, hosted within the toolkit. During an emergency, the Emergency Button will connect you with law enforcement.
VoIP phone call
Uber's new VoIP feature allows riders and drivers to make free anonymous calls to each other through the app. This kind of call enables the users to make a voice call over an internet connection rather than a phone's cellular service.
When you book a trip, the Uber app sends you the details of the driver and the vehicle, including the vehicle's making, colour and licence plate number, driver's name, rating and feedback of other riders.
Check your ride
Also, riders are advised to match the car's making, number and driver photo provided in the app against the one showed on it, before every trip.
24-hour in-app support
Whether you need to report an issue with a recent trip or just want some guidance on setting up and using your account, you can get help directly through your Uber app.
Uber has invested in a 24/7 Incident Response Team to respond to any incident that is reported to Uber. It also has a police liaison team that includes former law enforcement staff who work directly with the local police to assist in their investigations.
Ratings and feedback
Uber's Community Guidelines specify the behaviour desired from both riders and drivers.