Mumbai police arrest three Ola cab drivers on November 1, in case of conning the customers with the help of glitching the mobile application to add extra distance in the ride in order to increase the fare ultimately. It was discovered by Mumbai Police that there were around 40 drivers which took the advantage of the glitch in the old version of the Ola mobile application.
What is the case registered by Mumbai Police?
There are three Ola cab drivers under arrest by the crime branch (Unit-9). The name of one driver out of three is Rajesh Acharya who is by far the suspect mastermind of the entire scam to cheat customers. Police state that the accused discovered a glitch in the old mobile application of Ola which was outdated. The glitch was used in such a way that it added on the distance of customers ride to increase the cab fares.
How did the ola cab drivers use the glitch in the scam?
The accused mastermind of the ola scam Rajesh Acharya was earlier a driver claims to have found a glitch in the old Ola app. The old Ola app worked in such a way that on the driver’s interface screen a cab driver would seem to be driving on a bridge in GPS map even though the cab was under the bridge in reality. So what cab drivers would do was to switch off their app while driving on a long overpass, bridge, or flyover.
Once they cover the overpass, bridge, or flyover distance and take a left or right turn, they switch on the app back again. Because of the glitch, the app thinks that the vehicle was earlier on the bridge looks for a new route to connect the bridge to the current location. The new route that the old app gives is longer than the one driver actually drives on, thereby increasing the distance and the fare too.
Explaining with an example-
” A cab driver traveling below the Eastern Freeway would switch off his app. As per the app, he is on the Freeway, an elevated road, while he is actually on the road below. He would drive for 2-3 kilometers with the app off, reach Govandi, and switch on the app again. The app, which assumed the cab was above the freeway, would consider the route from above the freeway to Govandi which would entail going all the way back to Wadala, thus adding around 10 kilometers to the trip. In reality, however, the cab would have covered a distance of just 2 km. The drivers operated on the Mumbai airport to Panvel route and during one trip, they would stop at three or four locations below the bridge thus adding several kilometers to the trip” – The Indian Express.
Why did the Ola drivers prefer the Airport- Panvel Route?
For the Ola scam drivers mostly took the Airport-Panvel route. The cab drivers line outside the Airport and wait for rides to the Panvel route. The reason for this is really obvious, this route has many bridges and flyovers and is also the longest route, which helps the drivers to increase their fares by adding distance in the rides.
How did the Ola cab drivers manage to get rides for this particular location?
The organization sends drivers to any location that they want, so the question is how did Ola drivers manage to drive to this particular location?
Ola drivers can get the destination of their choice by using the option of ‘Home’ given by cab aggregators. The Home option allows drivers to drive on their route of preference. Even in the case that a driver stays in South Mumbai they can use the Home option and show that their home location is Panvel.
With this process, the drivers get the rides for the Panvel route by default.
How much money did the cab drivers make with the scam?
According to the police report, the cab drivers almost doubled the cab fares. For instance, if the cab fare of Panvel was Rs 610 it was paid around Rs 1,240 because of the scam. It is claimed by the accusers that the scam was being executed since Dec 2019, however, police doubt that it is being carried out for a longer time.
Did passengers complain about this?
Sometimes, the passengers complained about the increased fares to which the driver replied to take the issue with the company. They also claimed that they were just drivers and had no idea about how the system worked. In most of the cases, the customers did not make a complaint and went their way.
Even when someone made a complaint, all drivers faced was mere fine charges through the company.
How did the police catch this case?
The police got a tip about Ola cab drivers carrying out a scam outside airports. The Police then made an effort and dressed as dummy passengers to figure the case out. Mumbai Police noticed how the app was switched on and off several times and also saw the rise in cab fares.
This operation was carried out several times to confirm the fraud and three people were arrested for the same.