Following its India launch in mid-2013, Uber boasted of much promise and success with plans on expansion to 11 cities making the country its fastest-growing geography outside the United States. However, it soon floundered and faced stiff competition from its Indian rival Ola that has expanded to 100 cities, and is aiming to hit 200 cities by next year.
As if the competition wasn’t enough, the cab service company has been at the centre of social media debate since the past year. After facing accusations over a driver allegedly raping a female passenger, the driver being put in jail and the brand being sued the United States, the company has found itself in the middle of another crisis. Almost six months after the last episode, a woman has made allegations that an Uber driver tried to kiss her forcibly. Unsurprisingly, this has created quite a spur on social media within a matter of hours.
Last year’s incident had other cab service providers in Delhi face operational roadblocks. The state government proposed deployment of stringent rules not only against Uber, but on all app-based cab service providers. However, since the rules were not cleared and enforced by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the cabs have still been plying in Delhi.
While the Delhi government blamed the ministry for being unable to enforce the said ban, the latter is understood to have expressed its inability to regulate these due to ‘encryption-related’ deficiencies, say market reports.
The Delhi government will ask the Centre to act against Uber, Ola and other app-based taxi services in Delhi, the city's transport minister, Gopal Rai, was reported to have said.
All this brand-shamming has yet again shattered Uber’s extensive marketing campaigns that were bringing it much-needed goodwill in India. With offers like first-ride-free, the brand saw some positive sentiment for a brief time, before it all went down the drain with the latest incident.
As the blame game continues between the authorities, social media enthusiasts are all over Twitter and Facebook playing their own blame game.