Mumbai: Private cabbie refuses to ferry customer with disability
Thane resident slaps aggregator CEO Cabs with legal notice, says he feels insulted and mentally harassed
A disabled IT professional has claimed that he was not allowed to board a pre-booked cab, with the driver saying that 'handicapped people are not allowed' as per company policy. The 46-year-old shot off a letter to Kasarvadavli police station in Thane about the incident and sent the company, CEO Cabs, a legal notice demanding an apology and refund. CEO Cabs said it has suspended the driver from all its platforms, explaining that the driver thought the customer to be 'too frail' to ride alone.
Narrating the December 11 incident, Pramod Nair, Thane resident, who uses a wheelchair and a walking stick after a major spinal operation left him paralysed, said, "I had booked CEO Cab from Thane Parkwoods to Malad Mindspace. When the cab arrived, the driver refused to take me; he did not even open the door telling me it is CEO Cabs' policy to not take responsibility of handicapped persons. My neighbours and the building's security guard also tried to reason with him, but he was adamant. I feel mentally harassed with this incident."
This is the second time Nair has faced trouble with the same company. "In September, a driver refused to take me as he wanted only cash payment despite me having opted for online payment. He told me to hail another cab. This happened in the premises of my employer. I spoke to CEO Cabs' customer care in front of him, but still, he refused and took cash from me when I reached home. I did not want to argue back then but this latest incident is unacceptable," he said.
Aggregator CEO Cabs — an acronym for Cheaper, Excellent Operator — is supported by taxi trade unions and is spreading its wings in all major metros of India. Speaking to mid-day, its founder and chief executive officer, Durgesh Tiwari said there was a misunderstanding. "Our company has no discriminatory policy towards the disabled. In fact, we have special features and coupons to facilitate their rides.
As far as this complaint is concerned, we have suspended the driver from all our platforms and he will not be allowed to come back. Secondly, as per the driver's version, he was scared to ferry the customer as he found him too frail to be taken alone on the ride. He said he asked the customer to bring someone along as he was not in a position to handle medical emergencies or call for medical assistance. But the customer took it otherwise and started arguing. His society members joined and complicated the issue," Tiwari said. Countering Tiwari's statement, Nair said, "I am not frail. I am a former bodybuilder. They are trying to cover this up. No one has been so rude to me before. I am deeply hurt."
Sign up for all the latest news, top galleries and trending videos from Mid-day.comSubscribe