Online-based taxi hailing service Uber has suspended a driver in Nairobi who was allegedly rude and abusive to a female passenger during an altercation over the route he had taken last Saturday.
Uber Africa spokesperson Samantha Allenberg told Business Daily Africa that the driver, who was also involved in assault allegations with the passenger, had been barred from using the Uber platform.
“Any time safety is compromised we take it very seriously. As soon as we were notified of this incident we immediately reached out to the rider to offer our support and suspended the driver-partner’s access to the platform,” Ms Allenberg said.
Uber rider Catherine Njeri recalled what she termed as a harrowing experience with the driver in an online post she made on her Facebook account on Saturday.
“Be weary of an Uber Driver named Stephen drives a Nissan Tiida registration number KCE. Today at 7:30 p.m., he picked me up from town. (He) didn’t take too kindly to perhaps giving him directions. When I saw our conversation was degenerating, I told him just stop talking to me and take me to my location,” Ms Njeri said.
She alleges that he then got angry and wanted to drop her off at an area known as “Makaburi”, which she said is notorious for being unsafe.
“This is when I tell him I won’t pay him if he doesn’t drop me home,” she says in the post.
According to Ms Njeri, the driver then insisted on taking her back to town but she asked him to drive her to the Parklands Police Station.
It is at that point that Ms Njeri alleged she was hit on the arm by the driver. She would however according to her online account eventually alight from the taxi and safely get to her home.
Ms Njeri later filed an assault claim by the said driver with Police at Parklands Police Station.
Ms Allenberg in her statement sought to reassure Kenyans on the safety of the US-based firm’s online taxi platform after Ms Njeri’s account of the incident went viral on Facebook.
“Uber is safe…Our technology makes it possible to focus on safety for riders and drivers before, during, and after every trip in ways that have never been possible before. Of course no means of transportation can ever be 100 per cent safe because accidents and incidents will always happen. But we’re working our hardest to ensure that these are kept to an absolute minimum — including through new technology, increased investments in customer support and using the advice of our independent Safety Advisory Board,” Ms Allenberg told the Nation.