​Uber suspends service in New Delhi

Following the report that a woman was allegedly raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi, Uber has decided to suspend operations until it completes a review of its service.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor and  AAP , Contributor

Uber has decided that it will suspend operations in New Delhi during the review of its operations in India.

The move comes as one of Uber's drivers was accused of allegedly raping a woman last Friday. The woman, a financial analyst from Delhi, hired an Uber cab after attending a dinner party, and fell asleep on the way home. When she awoke, she found the doors locked and the car parked in an unfamiliar, secluded place.

Another woman, days before the alleged rape incident, had also complained about the same driver, but no actions were taken.

The accused Uber driver, Shiv Kumar Yadav, 32, had previously spent seven months in India's largest jail a few years ago on rape charges, although he said that they were never proven.

In a blog post, Uber said that during the review, it will conduct a full audit of its verification, rider feedback, and support processes.

"We are implementing measures to ensure that critical rider feedback is escalated immediately and immediate action is taken in every instance. We are also re-reviewing rider feedback on every driver partner across India to make sure nothing has been missed," the company said.

"Second, we are assessing all driver screening processes. We are evaluating additional screening options to include background checks on all our driver partners in India above and beyond what is currently required.

"Third, we will also bring in our global best practices where it would enhance our India safety efforts. Fourth, we will also partner closely with organisations that are championing women's safety here in New Delhi and around the country."

Meanwhile, a judge in Spain has banned the ride-sharing service from operating in that country.

Drivers hired for rides via the application "lack the administrative authorisation to carry out the job, and the activity they carry out constitutes unfair competition", court services said on Tuesday.

The ruling was a "cautionary measure" adopted while the court examines a case brought by the Madrid Taxi Association, the service said in a statement.

The court also ordered telecom companies and payment service providers to block Uber, which calls taxis and processes payments via a smartphone application.

Dutch judges on Monday banned one of Uber's services, UberPop, from taking bookings via its smartphone app and threatened the company with fines of up to $123,000, saying that unlicensed drivers are breaking the law.

A defiant Uber reacted in a statement by saying it "will continue to offer UberPop".

Authorities in Denmark and Norway have also filed complaints against Uber, while a court in Paris is due to decide on Friday whether Uber's services constitute unfair competition to traditional taxi drivers.

Trouble is also brewing for Uber in Australia. According to 7.30, 12 Uber drivers are facing legal action in Melbourne, following an undercover investigation by the Victorian Taxi Commission. Eighty infringement notices have also now been issued to Uber X drivers in Victoria and AU$130,000 in fines.

However, the Institute of Public Affairs released a report (PDF) this week calling on the governments of Australia to encourage and support the economic opportunities that Uber can bring to the "sharing economy".

Editorial standards