A woman has detailed her shocking experience with a rideshare driver who she thought was trying to abduct her.
A lone Melbourne rideshare passenger has detailed a terrifying experience in the back of a DiDi car when her driver led her 20 minutes away from her pinned destination.
The 26-year-old feared she was being abducted and demanded the driver pull over, leaving her stranded on a busy freeway.
The driver has been temporarily suspended as DiDi and police investigate the incident.
Julie took to Instagram to recount the disturbing incident, saying she booked in a short 15-minute trip from Brunswick to Richmond to see her friends last Saturday night to celebrate the end of Melbourne’s lockdown.
She was assigned a Mazda3 and entered the vehicle just after 6pm when things started to go wrong.
“He starts driving and it’s chill, we’re driving through Fitzroy and he takes a few wrong turns and says ‘oh I’m so sorry I don’t know what’s been happening today I’ve just made a few mistakes’ and I said that’s all good.
“But then we end up on the motorway and bearing in mind that it’s a 15-minute journey and when he was saying he was taking wrong turns, half an hour had gone by and we were still in Fitzroy.”
She then suggested to the driver he was going the wrong way, but he again apologised and mentioned he had made some mistakes throughout the day.
He then said he would cancel the trip without any charge but continued to drive away from the destination.
“I’m looking at his phone and his maps keeps telling him to exit the motorway and he’s in the right most lane and he stayed in the right most lane the whole time,” Julie said.
Forty minutes had gone by, triggering the frazzled passenger to phone her sister for help.
“I start freaking out because anything I say to him he can’t give me a clear answer back as to where we’re going,” she said.
“I’m on the phone to her and he realises, he tries to calm me down because I’m crying and freaking out and he’s like ‘oh sister, sister it’s fine don’t worry I’ll get you to where you need to go’.
“My sister’s like ‘Julie you need to get out of the car’ and so I said ‘can you please let me out’ because my door was locked as well.”
The driver pulled over into the emergency lane and Julie got out of the car via the opposite car door, but then she claimed the driver tried to coerce her back inside the vehicle.
“He said ‘here’s my phone talk to my friend they’ll tell you that you can come with me’,” Julie said.
“It was awful because I feel like if I didn’t say anything he would have just kept driving.
“I was literally standing on the side of the motorway for 20 minutes and it just was the most terrifying experience and I’m just so glad nothing happened.”
In a statement, a DiDi spokesman assured Julie would be refunded for her trip and said the matter was of the “highest priority”.
“When there is an incident concerning rider safety, as a precaution we immediately suspend the driver’s access to the app and conduct an investigation while also assisting law enforcement where required,” they said.
“For this particular incident, DiDi has suspended the driver’s account and will co-operate with law enforcement in its investigations once contacted.
“The safety of the entire DiDi community is always paramount – all passengers should feel safe and respected during their trip and we will continue our steadfast mission to maximise the safety of our platform for the wellbeing of our riders and drivers.”