UBER is cracking down on sexy behaviour.
For passengers, that means no touching, kissing or even flirting. Commenting on your driver’s appearance or asking whether they are single is not allowed.
It’s the first time the ride-sharing company has released a specific list of no-nos that will get a user banned from the app for good.
“You shouldn’t touch or flirt with other people in the car,” the rider policy states. “Uber has a no sex rule. That’s no sexual conduct with drivers or fellow riders, no matter what.”
Passengers are also forbidden from using “inappropriate and abusive language or gestures” such as “asking overly personal questions, using verbal threats, and making comments or gestures that are aggressive, sexual, discriminatory, or disrespectful”.
And intentionally damaging property, breaking the local law, or making unwanted contact with the driver or fellow passenger after the trip is over will also get you banned.
“Treat people as you would like to be treated yourself,” Uber spokeswoman Rachel Holt posted on the company’s blog last week.
“That’s why we’re updating our Community Guidelines today. They now explain in plain English the kind of behaviour we expect from both riders and drivers when using Uber. As part of these ground rules, for the first time we’re publishing a policy explaining why riders can lose access to Uber — just as we already do with drivers.”
The rider policy is derived from Uber’s community guidelines, which are universal, but has been written specifically for the US market — hence references to “leaving your guns at home”.
Uber says it will release a local version for the Australian and New Zealand markets early next year. It says more than 10,000 Australian riders check their rider rating in the app every week.
Sydney Uber driver Kate Doak said she had done around 400 trips and had only three bad experiences over the course of nine months.
Ms Doak, who is transgender, said all three instances involved passengers being “verbally abusive” and making transphobic remarks. “I’ve had to pull the car over and say, ‘Look, either you behave yourself or I cancel the ride right here and take you around to the police station instead’,” she said.
“I know a number of drivers have done that before when they’ve had threatening riders. Most drivers I know actually have their doors locked when they’re going to pick people up, because you never know exactly who it is — whether they’re intoxicated, or they’re potentially going to be violent, you just never know.
“But for the most part it’s pretty good. The vast majority of Australian Uber riders are really good people. Most get in and behave themselves pretty well. There is a system in place which weeds out troublemakers, both drivers and riders, pretty quickly.
“If people decide to be d***heads they don’t stay around very long.”
An Uber spokesman confirmed riders had been banned from the app for unacceptable behaviour in Australia. Among the violations included making racist or sexist remarks toward drivers, deliberately damaging vehicles, and account fraud.
“We want every Uber journey to be enjoyable for everyone in the car, and that’s only possible when both riders and drivers show respect for one another,” said Uber’s local head of operations, Mike Abbott.
“While we find the vast majority of riders are courteous towards drivers, we have seen rare instances of rude, inappropriate or abusive behaviour, which has resulted in us banning riders from the app.
“Our driver partners tell us they like the social aspect of driving and, above all else, just want riders to be respectful of their car, personal space, safety on the road and time.
“As we wind down and celebrate the end of the year, we ask all riders to bear this in mind and help ensure everyone enjoys a five-star journey this Christmas and New Year.”
FIVE TIPS TO IMPROVE YOUR RIDER RATING*
1. Pin it to win it. Taking a few seconds to make sure your pin is dropped in the right place — or better yet, entering your pick-up address — can save time and headaches. Consider busy streets, illegal parking and other places that may make pick-ups challenging. Entering your destination ahead of time makes everyone’s life easier. And, in case you were wondering: drivers can’t see your destination before accepting a request.
2. Please don’t pile in. Most cars with Uber can only fit 4 riders. If you’re in doubt about how many people your ride can fit, use this formula: number of seatbelts = number of riders. Have too many people? Request another car so everyone can ride safely.
3. Time is money. Drivers do everything they can to pick you up in as little time as possible. Please try to return the favour by being ready to hop into your Uber when it arrives. You can let your driver know if you’ll be a few minutes late by using Uber’s in-app feature.
4. Confirm your ride and make sure you’re in the right car. Check the make, model and licence plate of your ride before you hop in. Also remember to confirm your first name with your driver and ask them to do the same.
5. Be courteous. Please treat your driver as you would like to be treated and be sure to treat your driver’s car with care. Please don’t smoke, drink or eat on the trip. This not only makes the trip unpleasant for your driver, but for everyone after you as well. If you’re running late, please don’t encourage your driver to break traffic laws like illegal U-turns, speeding or skipping traffic lights.
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