A driver of ride-hailing giant Uber reportedly threatened to kidnap a passenger in Dhaka's Mirpur at one stage of altercation over fare payment through bKash, a mobile finance service, on Friday morning.
Talking to The Business Standard on Saturday, the passenger, who is an advertising agency official, said he requested a car ride on Uber for going to Paltan from the Mirpur area along with his sister. Soon after hopping on the car (Dhaka Metro-Ga 11-8346), the Uber driver asked the passenger about the payment method.
When the passenger said he would pay through bKash, the Uber driver said that he will not go on a trip with due fare as the driver will get the fare money after 7 days due to Uber policy. Later he refused to proceed with the trip request, which led to an altercation between the driver and passenger.
At one stage, the driver- named Md on the Uber app - cancelled the trip and asked the passengers to get off his vehicle. As the passenger refused to disembark, the Uber driver threatened to kidnap him along with his sister.
"You are not aware about what the drivers can do to you. I will drive my car and kidnap you right away," the Uber driver threatened the passenger, adding, "You can do nothing as this vehicle belongs to a high official of the government."
Finding no other options, his sister called up the onlookers and briefed them about the misbehaviour of the rider.
However, the issue was settled with intervention of the locals. The victim lodged a complaint with due procedure with the Uber authority, but he was yet to know whether the rider faced any music or not.
This is not the lone incident of harassment by the Uber drivers. A large number of passengers have come up with allegations that they were frequently being harassed while making payment through bKash.
As soon as the drivers come to know about the payment method, they in a significant number of cases cancel the trip request and also force the trip requesters to adopt alternative payment options, mostly cash method.
Payment through the mobile financial services has been a widespread practice in the last few months amid the coronavirus pandemic. But the drivers in Bangladesh are allegedly reluctant to receive payment through this method as it takes nearly seven days to get the fare from the ride-sharing company. The motorbike riders are largely blamed for such misbehaviors.
Against this backdrop, the drivers and passengers sought a rational solution to the problem.
The Business Standard tried to contact the Uber authority, but received no response till filing of this report on Saturday evening.