In a city where access to public transport is not always easy, Rapido bikes are cheaper than Rapido autos, so it is a preferred mode of transport. A debate exists about the legitimacy and accountability of bike taxi drivers, and a question of safety comes into play. There have been several incidents in Bengaluru where women have been mistreated, groped or even raped by bike taxi drivers.
On April 21, a woman booked a bike for a location and instead of going there, the driver took her to another location. Upon questioning him, the driver remained silent. She realised that the driver was drunk. Meanwhile her phone was in his hand and she was unable to grab it from him. She jumped off the bike near a college.
The bike taxi driver used a different bike to pick her up, as opposed to the one mentioned in the details of the Rapido app. By this time her friend had reached the police station nearby and asked the officers to track her phone, but they refused. He had to wait to get a response after speaking with a sub-inspector.
This is not an isolated incident, only a few have been reported to the police. In November of 2022, a woman was raped by a bike taxi driver in Electronics City, the key suspect had a criminal history, which was failed to be verified beforehand.
A former student had a distressing experience near RT Nagar in September. The driver asked her to ride the bike, claiming to be busy on a call. However, he began groping her as soon as the ride commenced. She raised the issue on the application and was duly informed that the driver had been suspended. A few days later she received a call from the driver. She made the issue public, calling for accountability. Rapido’s response was the same.
The Rapido Bike Taxi website assures safety, however, that is not always the case, aggregators must make it safer for women in the city to travel, especially at night. A system should be put into place where the contact details of the passenger can not be misused once the ride is over.