In this day and age of technological boom, service holders seldom have to worry about transportation modes to get back home after a grueling day at the office. Thanks to ridesharing services such as Pathao and Uber, the journey back home has gotten less tiring and time consuming.
Like many officegoers, I requested a bike via a ridesharing app from Gulshan-2 at around 4.30pm. Having found a bike within 10 seconds, I waited for the driver to call - which came in almost instantly. "Hello, apa, I'll be at your location in two minutes. Please wait there," the driver said in an amicable tone.
Regular users of ridesharing services know that the case of finding a ride and the driver agreeing to take you to your destination is not always this smooth of a process. Let alone the driver calling to say he will meet you at the pick-up point. Most times, the person requesting the ride will have to call the driver and upon picking up the call, he will ask you about your destination. If the driver thinks it's worth his time and effort to drop you off at your location, he will oblige. However, he will simply cancel the ride if the destination does not seem feasible to him.
I was surprised at my own sheer luck that day. I was almost sure that there had to be something wrong once my ride arrived. And the series of incidents that followed next failed to prove me wrong.
The app was showing me that the bike was just around the corner and within a matter of seconds, I saw a car stopping on the front gate of the building I was waiting in. I did not think of anything when I saw the car parked at the exact spot the app was saying the bike should have been parked. And then it hit me. My phone rang – it was the car's driver calling. Confused, I picked up the call - "Yes, hello, apa, I'm at your location. I'm in a car but you can pay me whatever the fare is for the bike," the driver said, sounding shifty.
Sensing trouble, I told the driver that I would not be taking the ride since the vehicle registered to my request was a bike. Having an inquisitive mind, I also asked him why he came with a car when the registered vehicle to his account is a bike – to which he said, "My bike is in the garage, but you don't need to worry. You don't have to cancel the ride. I'll drop you off safely," completely unperturbed.
And with those last couple of sentences, I reported him on the app. And as if the driver had not weirded me out enough already, he lurked outside the iron gates for a few minutes after I cancelled his ride and booked another one.