Tips for managing difficult passengers

Recommendations for managing difficult passengers policy

Drivers may encounter difficult customers and passengers at any point in time while driving for Ola. These customers or passengers may exhibit undesirable behaviours and may pose a threat to the safety of the driver and the public at large. 

Undesirable behaviours exhibited by customers or passengers may include any of the following:

  • Being disruptive and non-cooperative
  • Verbal threats, intimidation or harassment
  • Physical assault and spitting
  • Throwing objects and projectiles
  • Damaging vehicle
  • Intoxication – drinking, smoking or drug use
  • Bullying and violence.

De-escalate the situation

In a situation like this, Ola recommends that drivers de-escalate the situation by remaining calm and respectful to avoid aggravating the customer or passenger. Actions that drivers can take include the following:

  • Speak clearly and ask passengers to repeat information if you are unsure.
  • Remain calm, polite and professional at all times. Don’t take insults or offensive language personally. Remember, your response may turn a minor situation into a major conflict.
  • Maintain self control. Loss of temper affects drivers’ judgement, reduces their driving ability and increases their stress.

This will minimise the risk to the driver’s safety especially in respect of physical and verbal assaults.

It is important to remember when dealing with difficult, intoxicated or drug-affected passengers that their ability to make reasonable and rational decisions is greatly reduced. In such cases, Ola recommends that drivers not accept the service request for such passengers.

In addition, Ola recommends that all drivers review the guidelines contained in the following:

  • Customer service policy
  • Anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy
  • Anti-bullying policy
  • Safety commitment policy
  • Driver behaviour guidelines

Actions taken by driver

Drivers should try to avoid conflict at all times.  However, situations may arise that cannot be tolerated or ignored, such as when an assault has occurred, a threat has been made or other laws have been broken. In these circumstances, the driver should call 000 as soon as possible.

If the driver is concerned about a passenger’s behaviour, the following actions may help:

  • Stop the vehicle when and where considered safe
  • Open all doors
  • Remain in the driver’s seat or area if appropriate
  • Request the difficult or aggressive passenger to alight from the vehicle
  • Do not physically handle the passenger unless you are acting in self-defence. (If acting in self-defence the amount of force used must be reasonable and proportional)
  • Call 000

If the difficult or aggressive passenger refuses to alight from the vehicle the driver could also consider the actions below:

  • Engage the handbrake, switch the engine off and remove the keys
  • Advise the other passengers that they may alight the vehicle
  • Alight from the vehicle
  • Wait until the police arrive.