Uber: An ‘unfare’ ride

Attention Uber users! The next time you hail an Uber car in Kolkata, be alert and watchful.
The San Francisco-headquartered taxi hailing service is luring customers by sending false messages and thereby fleecing people.
I received a message on March 8 saying “Prices dropped. Ride exclusively at Rs 6/km on ubergo. Use code TARATARI. Valid till March 9.” I received similar messages earlier also.
I took a ride using the code from Cambridge International School (near Hazra crossing) to my home at 201 NSC Bose Road (Tollygunge), at 3.10pm on March 9. When I saw the fare (Rs 85.83) at the end of the trip I was stunned. The distance from Hazra crossing to my place can never be more than 6km!! The fare was awfully wrong.
Before starting the trip, I asked the driver to let me know the km reading so that I could calculate the distance travelled when I reached my destination. The driver said the car couldn’t show the km reading. Strange!!
How could a passenger calculate the km travelled to get the special fare at Rs 6/km?
I asked the driver, Pradip, to connect me to his local office. He said he wouldn’t as a local call would cost him Rs 25 (this again is a blatant lie).
After much pleading, the driver called up the Kolkata office. The guy named Sanjay on the other end told him that the passenger must pay the amount.
I paid the amount.
Then I took the cell phone from the driver and asked Sanjay to give me his full name. I also added that I’d take it up with the San Francisco office. His reply was curt: “I won’t give you my full name and do whatever you feel like.”
Sanjay’s brusqueness and impertinence surprised me.
On February 28, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick apologised for his disrespectful interaction with an Uber driver while riding with two female friends in the back of an Uber Black.
The whole incident was caught on camera.
Hours after the video circulated, Kalanick apologised for his behaviour in an email to his staff: “I treated an Uber driver disrespectfully. To say that I am ashamed is an extreme understatement. My job as your leader is to lead…and that starts with behaving in a way that makes us all proud. That is not what I did, and it cannot be explained away.”

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