As a younger, 20-something, impartial lady residing in Lahore, I’ve made it some extent to maintain my life and bills all alone. I do nonetheless stay with my dad and mom, however there’s not a lot I depend on them for besides their unwavering and unconditional love and assist.
This implies I deal with my very own transport, whether or not it’s to journey to and from my office or steadily to run private errands. A couple of years in the past this was a lot more durable as companies like Uber and Careem weren’t out there, however with their huge availability now, it has turn into very simple for me – and Pakistani ladies on the whole – to comfortably mobilise on their very own every time they need if they don’t have the privilege of getting a automobile or a chauffeur.
Not too long ago, nonetheless, Uber introduced it has acquired Careem for $three.1 billion, and I’m undecided how comfy I’m with this merger. Careem has managed to earn popularity in Pakistan, whereas Uber has a horrible popularity worldwide. Will Uber run the identical type of background checks Careem does earlier than it decides to rent its captains? Or will Uber find yourself destroying Careem as effectively?
I’m not embarrassed to confess how typically I take advantage of Careem; it has definitely made my commutes far more handy, particularly for the reason that process to guide a experience from practically wherever is extraordinarily useful. Talking of comfort, Careem has proved to be fairly an inexpensive service, and the very best half is that their captains truly appear well-mannered with regards to interacting with prospects.
I take advantage of Careem at the least twice a day, if no more at instances, and this has been my routine for the previous two years. Out of the thousand instances that I’ve used the service, I’ve had maybe one main incident that made me uncomfortable. After a protracted experience dwelling from a pal’s home, I reached dwelling safely, however what occurred 30 minutes later took me without warning and made me offended on the similar time.
The captain had despatched me a message (he had my quantity as a result of I had known as him to clarify my decide up location) that learn extraordinarily disagreeable issues; issues that would clearly be labeled as harassment. As quickly as I noticed these unwarranted messages, my first intuition was to dam his quantity, however the second was to name the assistance centre and lodge a grievance. My name was transferred to a feminine consultant to whom I advised my story, and I used to be pleasantly stunned with how she handled my harassment grievance.
She spoke to me with empathy, sympathy and sincerity unexpectedly. I used to be truly overwhelmed by the truth that as an alternative of defending the captain (which is what I believed would occur), she supported me and guaranteed me that the captain can be reprimanded. It does, nonetheless, scare me to suppose that such incidents (or worse) occur to different ladies on a regular basis, and that we stay in a world the place males consider it’s alright to behave in such a fashion.
Whereas there was this one unfavorable expertise with Careem, there was additionally one other incident that deserves to be talked about. One night time as I used to be leaving my home in a Careem to journey for a piece occasion, I noticed two suspicious males in a automobile driving previous my home. They seen I used to be sitting within the automobile alone and began following us. The captain was a well mannered aged man and he seen instantly that one thing was flawed. He tried a number of instances to lose the boys, altering the velocity and even making an attempt a distinct path to throw the opposite automobile off, however they continued to comply with us for some time. The captain reassured me that I shouldn’t have to fret and that he would be sure I attain my vacation spot safely; he didn’t ask me unsolicited or inappropriate questions relating to the state of affairs. Ultimately, he did handle to drive me safely to the placement, and my belief in Careem grew even stronger after this.
Then again, there’s a cause why I don’t use Uber. I solely had the displeasure of utilizing it as soon as when a pal ordered it for me, and that was the final time I opted for Uber as a transportation avenue, at the least alone. The captain randomly began asking odd questions comparable to,
“What do you suppose it means to be in a relationship?”
“What does it imply when a person and lady are pals?”
“What do you suppose it means to be in love?”
I continued to disregard his questions till I set free a loud sigh and placed on my headphones so he would lastly get the trace that I used to be neither amused nor fascinated with his makes an attempt to begin an pointless dialog.
My (feminine) colleagues have had worse experiences with Uber. One incident includes my colleague arriving at work along with her Uber driver following her all the best way inside our workplace area, talking loudly and in a particularly impolite and unprofessional method, claiming that my colleague had not paid sufficient cash and he had come all the best way upstairs to get it. A couple of of us needed to calm him down and cease him from creating a much bigger scene, particularly when he began strolling in the direction of her in a violently threatening method. She ended up giving him more money despite the fact that she had already paid him his justifiable share, simply to do away with him.
With Careem, each time I’ve known as or emailed them to dispute fares or to file complaints, I’ve all the time been handled with utmost respect and acquired immediate responses. Contemplating that Uber doesn’t also have a helpline, I’m now apprehensive about how this merger will impression passengers, and the way they are going to file complaints, particularly in circumstances of harassment.
There’s definitely an enormous safety loophole with regards to each transport firms, particularly since ladies passengers are typically at extra danger than their male counterparts, notably with regards to various types of sexual and verbal assault and harassment. Ladies are typically focused or engaged in dialog merely on account of prevailing misogynistic attitudes. There by no means actually is any assure of what sort of an individual one will come throughout at any time on both service.
Nonetheless, judging from my private experiences and the tales I’ve heard, I’m able to say that I positively favour Careem and really feel a lot safer utilizing it. I’ve travelled lengthy distances in a Careem and used the service comparatively late at night time on my own, and by no means have I felt threatened or like I used to be within the flawed place on the flawed time.
Now that Uber has purchased Careem, maybe they will additionally study a factor or two from them. What Uber must do in another way is to supply sensitivity and anti-harassment coaching to its drivers so they’re conscious their behaviour is inappropriate. Uber also needs to run higher background checks on individuals earlier than hiring them as drivers. If Uber doesn’t pay particular consideration to its shortcomings, it might go on to damage Careem’s popularity as effectively. If this occurs, ladies would be the ones who lose out but once more, for Careem has been the service ladies might truly belief with their mobility.