Bachelor SA contestant traumatised after Uber driver 'holds her for ransom' in Istanbul

2019-06-27 08:05
Uber. (Getty)

Uber. (Getty)

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A holiday to Turkey had an unhappy ending for brand agency owner and former Bachelor SA contestant Kim Grey who said she was "held for ransom" in a taxi.

Speaking from Istanbul after the incident last week, a shaken Grey told News24 that she managed to escape the vehicle when it slowed down on a highway, after which she ran to a shopping centre for help.

READ: Uber could face class action lawsuit over safety complaints

She had used the Uber app to travel from Cappadocia, a hot air balloon mecca for tourists, back to her hotel.

"It had been an amazing holiday, a bucket list journey for me."

She said tourists trusted Uber there because they felt safe and she had good experiences back in South Africa with it, especially because of the built-in safety features, tracking metrics, driver profiles and set cost.


There had been conflict between local taxi drivers and Uber in Istanbul, according to Reuters.

Grey believed she was a target as she had come from the airport and was travelling to a five-star hotel.

She found it weird when five minutes into her ride, the vehicle stopped, and the drivers changed.

"The guy got aggressive and said: 'You must draw me money or EFT.' He said he wouldn't release me until I paid him 400 lira [around R990] but the trip was only supposed to cost 90 lira [around R220]," she said.

In a frantic state, she used the emergency option in the app translator.

"I said please call the police and put a tracker on this. The translator said this is not an emergency. I said, don't you understand? I am being held hostage," she recalled.

"I was screaming, 'Please stop the car, stop the car. Get me out of here!'"

Grey said she was eventually able to get out the vehicle and found herself in the middle of the city, about 35 minutes from her intended destination.

"It was just quite a traumatic episode."

Uber contacted her and reimbursed her the value of her ride (90 lira).

An Uber spokesperson told News24 on Wednesday evening: "What's been described is totally unacceptable and has no place on the Uber app. In a case of this nature we remove a driver's access to the app and we're investigating the matter."

Uber has community guidelines in which drivers using the app are expected to follow all rules of the road and relevant, state, federal and local laws at all times.

In cities around the world, it has an incident response team that is trained to deal with any critical safety issues that arise, connecting with law enforcement at any time if necessary.

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