Cabbie Fells Asleep, Passenger Drives Taxi Home

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Gurgaon: A 23-year-old man who had booked a cab past midnight using an aggregator’s app ended up driving the car himself after its driver allegedly dozed off midway and had to be transferred to the passenger seat where he fell into deep sleep.

A nine-second video uploaded on social media by the passenger, Gurgaon resident Ishaan Gill, shows the driver asleep even when Gill gets off the cab and leaves a Rs 500 currency note on his lap. The video, along with a post by Gill narrating his experience on May 16, has gone viral.

Gill, a financial analyst, said he had hired the cab using the Uber app at 12.36 am from Defence Colony in South Delhi to his home in DLF Phase-II. At one point during the ride, the driver almost crashed the cab into a road divider near Aurobindo Marg, Gill said. That’s when he put the driver in the passenger seat and took the wheel. “My driver fell asleep on the wheel because he took “pills” to keep him up longer. I personally had to put him in the passenger seat and drive his car back myself,” Gill wrote in his post.

Gill said the cab took half an hour more than the estimated time to arrive but he did not bother to raise a complaint. But he sensed something was wrong with the driver. “I was sitting on the passenger seat next to the driver. I kept on asking him if he is all right and he kept nodding his head in affirmation,” Gill said.

Gill was messaging someone on his phone when he realised the driver had dozed off and was about to hit a divider near Aurobindo Marg. He shook him hard and the driver managed to hit the brakes just in time. “There was water in the car and I offered it to him and asked what was wrong with him,” he said. The driver, he added, told him his head was spinning because of some pills he had taken to stay awake, probably so that he could get more rides.

Already 1.30 in the night, Gill said he did not want to go through the hassle of booking another cab. “I had a low signal on my phone. I could not book another cab and I wanted to get home soon.” So left with no other option, he decided to drive the rest of the route.

“I showed the driver my driving licence and he agreed to let me drive. I had to move him to the passenger seat and he fell asleep almost instantly,” said Gill.

The ride finally ended around 2am. With the driver still asleep, Gill ended the trip himself but couldn’t wake him to collect the fare of Rs 427.

Furious with the service, Gill posted his grievance on social media in the morning and also raised a complaint with Uber. In an email exchange, the cab firm said it was following up with the driver and would take “whatever action is necessary to ensure a negative experience like this is not repeated.” Uber also asked him not to take over the ride by driving himself, as there could be legal implications.

“I got a call from Uber, offering to reimburse the ride fare, but that is not the point. What if the driver had hit the car? Uber has to take responsibility to ensure safety of its customers,” said Gill. When contacted, Uber declined to comment.

TNN