An Uber driver was arrested and charged with raping a female passenger. New Delhi, India, authorities are concerned, as Shiv Kumar Yadav was previously charged with sexual assault. In an attempt to prevent further attacks, police have issued a city-wide ban on the popular taxi service.
Launched in 2009, Uber is currently available in 200 cities worldwide. The service is touted as fast and convenient, as riders can use a mobile app to book and pay for a ride.
An Uber representative confirmed that all drivers “have been through the commercial licensing process and… have government identification and state-issued permits.” However, it is unclear whether the company performs routine background checks.
New Delhi deputy commissioner of police, Madhur Verma, said the arrested Uber driver’s “address and background” were never verified by the taxi service provider. Verma explained that Shiv Kumar Yadav was never issued a security badge, which is granted as proof of official verification.
Speaking on behalf of the company, Uber Chief Executive Travis Kalanick confirmed that Uber “will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement officials.” However, he blames local officials for failing to “establish clear background checks… in their commercial transportation licensing programs.”
As reported by CNN, Verma denied Kalanick’s accusations. According to Verma, background checks are completed prior to the issuance of all commercial drivers licenses.
It is unclear whether a background check was performed by New Delhi officials or the taxi service company. However, Verma said authorities are conducting an investigation to determine whether “due-diligence was taken” by all parties.
According to reports, the alleged victim was sexually assaulted on Friday night. The unnamed 26-year-old woman used Uber to book a ride home from her friend’s apartment. However, she eventually fell asleep inside the car.
The alleged victim said the Uber driver took her to a “deserted stretch” of road and parked the cab. He then proceeded to rape her. Although he later drove her home, the driver threatened her with further violence if she told anyone what happened.
Despite the threats, the alleged victim contacted authorities immediately. Although he initially went into hiding, police arrested the Uber driver on Sunday afternoon. Verma confirmed that the suspect is due to appear in court on Monday morning.
Although police arrested the Uber driver for raping the 26-year-old woman, they want to prevent similar situations in the future. It is unknown how long New Delhi will ban the taxi service. However, Uber is working with authorities to revise their policies and procedures.
[Image via The Next Web]