Cab drivers plying the Pune-Mumbai-Pune route have mostly been reliable and a safe lot to be with, but one driver decided to rewrite that notion a couple of days ago. A lady lawyer, travelling alone from Mumbai to Pune was manhandled and robbed on Friday night. The driver then fled, leaving her in the cab.

Cab drivers do have a reputation for being sullen, ill-mannered, as well as having a tendency to smoke or chew tobacco/gutkha in the car, leaving the occupants severely nauseated, especially if the AC is turned on, but robbery was something not many have attempted often.

This is partly because it is somewhat easy to track them, and there is also a fear of being ostracised within their fraternity. However, in recent times, a tendency to get rich quick, coupled with sheer moral depravity has caused this entire lot to come under the scanner. The rape and murder of call centre executives in different cities are still fresh in memory.

I also feel that people travelling in any cab, especially when alone, and during the night, need to take some basic precautions; maybe a simple thing like calling a friend/relative from their cellphone and giving details about their present whereabouts, the cab number etc. If done within earshot of the driver, so much the better, as the guy will at least think twice before doing something drastic, knowing he can be quickly found and apprehended.

A little vigilance would also help, especially if they find the driver taking a totally unknown route or diversion for no reason. As far as possible, I’d even suggest people should avoid travelling alone by road in the night.In this case, the lady lawyer was extremely lucky to escape with her life!