Mumbai Traffic Police is all set to write to cab aggregator services like Ola and Uber, asking them to conduct an introductory course on the city's topography for its potential recruits. Further, they have some dos and don'ts for the drivers, who often stop in the middle of the road as the maps reroute their way, causing traffic to come to a halt, followed by the inevitable altercation between the driver and the passenger.
The letter, which is likely to reach the cab aggregators over the weekend, will mention the key point of providing basic training to the driver-partners that focuses on the city’s topography, key roads and shortcuts, so that they are not entirely dependent on Google Maps to show the way. “Many a time, it happens that the map shows a longer route, without considering bylanes and other shortcuts, making a 15-minute ride much longer. At such times, if a driver knows the topography and the roads of the city, it will be handy,” said a senior traffic official.
Madhukar Pandey, joint commissioner of police (traffic) said, “It was observed that for lack of knowledge of the city’s topography, drivers depend on maps. If the map shows a turn when the car is in the centre lane, the driver stops the car midway and tries to take the designated turn. This sudden movement brings traffic to a halt and is far from desirable especially in peak hours.” Following constant complaints by passengers, who said that such sudden turns and stops lead to angry exchanges with the driver, it was deemed necessary for the cab aggregators to conduct an induction programme for their driver-partners before taking them onboard, Pandey said.
Other points to be addressed in the letter will include designated passenger-pickup points on roads, not junctions. The pick-up point should ideally be where a vehicle can wait until the passenger arrives and pick-ups at junctions could lead to traffic snarls.
Women's safety will be another issue that will be addressed, as it has been observed that the designated driver often allows his friend or family members to drive in his absence. In such cases, when a woman books a cab, the aggregator provides the driver’s photo and vehicle number. “It is a nightmare when the passenger finds the driver is different from the description provided,” said a an app cab user, Yookta Nehete, 27.
When The Free Press Journal contacted cab aggregators Ola and Uber, their respective spokespersons said they would not like to comment on the matter at this point.