Mumbai: Top gallerist bruised in cab accident; Uber's response: Rs 100 refund

Jamal Mecklai (66) was in an Uber cab when it rammed into another vehicle; he claims Uber hasn’t responded, but the company denies this

Well-known art connoisseur and gallerist, Jamal Mecklai (66), recently had a troubled ride with Uber. The Uber vehicle in which he was travelling to Colaba met with an accident on Peddar Road on June 26. But more than the accident, it’s the way Uber has barely reacted to the incident that has troubled Mecklai.

Jamal Mecklai, CEO of Mecklai Financials, shows one of his injuries, apart from those he sustained on his shin, shoulder and arms in the accident. He says Uber did not even enquire about him. Pics/Sneha Kharabe
Jamal Mecklai, CEO of Mecklai Financials, shows one of his injuries, apart from those he sustained on his shin, shoulder and arms in the accident. He says Uber did not even enquire about him. Pics/Sneha Kharabe

Mecklai was travelling from Mahalaxmi and took a cab at around 12.30 pm. “I was talking over the cell phone when suddenly there was a jerk and crash. Our vehicle had rammed the vehicle in front,” said Mecklai.

After that Mecklai claimed that the driver terminated the journey and he was billed R100 for the ride. “I got a message of money being deducted. I was hurt and had cuts and bruises on my knees, shin, shoulder and arms,” he said.

He then took a regular black-and-yellow cab, and while on his way, he contacted Uber to complain about the accident. He also took to Twitter, where he wrote about the incident, and later sent emails to Uber. “But he did not get a response from Uber. They did not even bother enquiring about his injuries or the trauma that he underwent,” said Pravina Mecklai, his wife, who owns Jamaat art gallery.

Here’s a refund
The series of complaints resulted only in a single email response about the R100 that was deducted, as being refunded to his account. Gradually, as the day progressed, Mecklai’s pain became severe. Pravina said that he had X-Rays done to check for internal injuries or fractures.

“They have my contact number and other details, yet I did not receive a single call enquiring about my well-being. These tech-friendly taxi services are easy to use but they need to improve their service. At times like these, we realise that their policies are flawed and they need to be addressed,” added Mecklai.

The mobile aggregators have introduced an SOS button system in their applications that could be used in such incidents. But officials believe that not many know about it. The SOS button will immediately inform the mobile aggregators about any unwarranted incident or event, and in the long run, officials from Transport department said that it will be connected to the police control room too.

Delayed scheme
The state government is sitting on the City Taxi Scheme, 2015, which would bring clarity to the system. “The City Taxi Scheme, 2015 is expected to get clearance from the Cabinet soon. This will bring things under control,” said Transport Commissioner Shyam Wardhane.

Recently, Transport Minister Diwakar Raote claimed that the policy has been forwarded to the Chief Minister’s office for clearance.

Uber says
A spokesperson from Uber said, “We were in touch with the rider ever since he first wrote to us. We have sent three emails asking him for a specific time for us to talk to him, as well.”

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