A woman was left horrified after her Uber driver started “masterbating” while they were stuck in traffic.
The woman claims she was trapped with a driver in a queue on the M67 when she felt the car “shaking” and heard a “rubbing noise” before she asked him “are you masturbating?” The driver didn’t respond, she said.
Feeling uncomfortable, she alleged she got out of the car to seek the help of a nearby police officer.
But she says the officer told her he found her claim “very doubtful” and when she asked if he doubted her he simply ‘shrugged his shoulders’.
The incident is now being investigated by Greater Manchester Police’s professional standards branch.
The force has also apologised for “any instances whereby a member of the public has not received a good service from us”.
Uber says they have suspended the driver’s account while an investigation takes place.
The woman – who spoke to the Manchester Evening News and has not been named – requested an Uber to take her home from a work event in Manchester city centre just after 11pm on Thursday night last week.
She was sitting in the back seat behind the driver, she said when the car grounded to a halt when they got near a police road closure around the site of an accident.
“So I was waiting in the taxi trying to chat with the driver and he was a bit grumpy. I put my rucksack on the seat next to me to rest my head,” she said.
“I noticed the car started shaking and I could hear this rubbing noise. I asked ‘what are you doing?’.
“This went on and it stopped and started. I moved to the middle seat to try and distract him and tried to talk to him, asking how long he thought we would be here. I wanted him to stop.
“I text my husband and said ‘I’m fairly confident the driver of this Uber is masturbating’. He phoned me and said to put him on the phone but I didn’t want the driver to take my phone.
“There was a bit of this starting and stopping and the car shaking and the rubbing noise. I never actually saw his penis, but if he was not doing that he certainly wanted me to think he was.
“I said ‘I’m getting out’ and asked ‘Are you masturbating?’ and he didn’t respond.”
The woman says she got out of the car onto the motorway and approached a nearby police officer.
She explained the situation but was told she needed to get back inside her vehicle.
“He asked which car it was and started walking me back to the car,” she says.
“I told him I wasn’t getting back in that taxi and he said ‘you’re going to have to because you can’t stand out in the carriageway’.”
The woman says the officer then ‘reluctantly’ agreed to let her sit in the back of the police car. When she asked what their plan was she was told the officer could drop her at a shopping centre many miles from her home.
She was there for around 45 minutes before anyone spoke to her properly, she says. Sometime later, she says another officer arrived and asked if she would like them to arrest the Uber driver.
“I said ‘yeah’,” she says. “They asked if I could identify him and I told them the name and car was on my Uber app. I told him what had happened and he told me this case was unlikely to get a prosecution. They had not even taken my name at that point.
“By then I was more worried about how I would get home. I said ‘okay, leave it’. Then the first officer came over to return my phone and said ‘I find it very doubtful that a man would do this whilst he knows he’s trapped in the traffic’.
“I said ‘are you telling me this didn’t happen? and he just shrugged his shoulders and passed me the phone.”
The woman says officers dropped her at McDonald’s, in Hattersley, where her husband had ordered her a cab home.
She has since reported both the alleged crime and her complaint about officers’ conduct.
“They said there would be an investigation and I would get a written outcome,” she says. “In my opinion that is quite a dangerous officer because he is not only inept and didn’t take a report, but he also tried to get me back in the taxi,” she added.
A spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Police force said: “Firstly, we completely acknowledge the effect incidents of this nature can have on victims, and we are sorry for any instances whereby a member of the public has not received a good service from us.”