PETALING JAYA: The recently reported incidents involving female drivers of ride-hailing services being sexually harassed by male passengers have raised concerns among prospective drivers.
Lui Jie Yun, 25, a web designer who had considered becoming a GrabCar driver, is now concerned about the surge of reported cases of harassment and assault. However, she remained undeterred.
“I am a little worried but I will still consider being a GrabCar driver as the registration process is easier and I can earn quite a lot from it,” she said.
Interior designer Alexis Toh, 24, had also considered being a ride-hailing driver but finally decided against it.
“I fear it would be dangerous for me to be driving strangers around,” she said.
In a case earlier this month, a quick-witted female driver managed to seek help from traffic policemen after being harassed by three Nepalese customers. The three men were later arrested.
In another case, a male passenger sexually assaulted and later sent obscene messages to a female GrabCar driver at Taman Bandaraya.
Grab’s country head Jaygan Fu said a police report has been lodged and the passenger involved has been banned from the company’s system.
“To date, he has not contacted her since and if he does, the authorities will intervene and take appropriate action.
“We have also provided her with an in-car camera as an added precaution,” he said.
Other safety features have been introduced, including same gender and driver option under GrabHitch, an emergency button for its drivers and also an in-app chat feature called GrabChat which prevents communication after the journey is completed.
Meanwhile, a spokesman from Uber stated that the company has invested heavily in technology and working very closely with law enforcement to improve safety for its drivers and passengers.
“Through our technology, riders are also rated to ensure that standards of safety towards drivers, who we prefer to call them our partners, are maintained.
“We take the safety of drivers and passengers very seriously and appropriate action will be taken to ensure such things (harassment) do not happen,” he said.