Two years ago, it was a private, lowly chartered bus that became the site of a gangrape that shook Delhi. Eerily close to the second anniversary of that brutal assault comes the news of the rape of a woman in the capital by the driver of a Uber cab.

For those who aren't familiar with the service, Uber is a worldwide cab company that has risen to quick success by using smartphones to connect drivers and riders. It's recently arrived in India, and in a short time, it has come to get much traction, specially among the young.

Its website emphasises that the service is "Uber is New Delhi's best way to request a safe, reliable, and affordable ride within minutes".

The woman caught in the nightmare on Friday night was, by all accounts, a typical Uber customer. According to IANS, she was returning home from her office in Gurgaon, the Haryana township abutting Delhi. Around 9.30 pm, she took a cab in Vasant Vihar, a posh locality in the south of the city, and somewhere on the way to her home in the city's north, the cab driver pulled up in a secluded area and assaulted her.

A policeman told Scroll that he dropped her home, but not before threatening to show up at her place to kill her if she dared report the rape to the police. NDTV's Tanima Biswas reported that the police found security lapses on part of the company. Biswas, who was tracking the case, put out these tweets on Saturday night.

Uber later put out this statement:
"We became aware of the incident this morning. Safety is Uber’s highest priority and we take situations like this very seriously. We are working with the police as they investigate, and will assist them in any way we can to determine what happened. It is also our policy to immediately suspend a driver’s account following allegations of a serious incident, which we have done. In India, we work with licensed driver-partners to provide a safe transportation option, with layers of safeguards such as driver and vehicle information, and ETA-sharing to ensure there is accountability and traceability of all trips that occur on the Uber platform."

Already, there's much outrage against the company on social media as Delhi discovers that even a cool, technology-savvy cab company cannot tame its demons.


For the young professional women of the city, stepping out in the night has just become harder.