With concerns mounting about the safety of ride-hailing apps, Uber has released a list of what it calls “community guidelines” that apply to riders and drivers. For anyone who wants to know what, precisely, it would take to get banished from Uber-land, here are the answers. In its own boilerplate way, the list of guidelines is a darkly fascinating read. It is unknown how strictly these rules will be enforced and what overall effect they will have on Uber and the transportation app industry in general. The preamble includes a slight rephrasing of the golden rule: “Treat your fellow riders and drivers as you would like to be treated yourself: with respect.” There’s also some basic advice about being punctual, tidy, safe, non-creepy, etc. Apart from lines like “Please leave your guns at home,” most of this could have been cribbed from any Boy Scouts manual from the last hundred years.
Then, at last, it’s time to get to the good stuff: a section called “Why Riders Can Lose Access To Uber.” Damaging drivers’ or passengers’ property is a no-no, as one might expect. And, yes, that includes “vomiting due to excessive alcohol consumption.” The fact that this rule is so specific speaks volumes. Uber users, furthermore, are not allowed to “touch or flirt with other people in the car.” So any lovebirds in the backseat should keep their hands to themselves. An Uber car is a flirt-free zone. Got it? Obscene gestures, obscene language, and speeding are also disallowed.
After that, there’s a matching section called “Why Drivers Can Lose Access To Uber.” It’s mostly the same stuff. The main point of interest here is that drivers can get kicked out of paradise if their average star ratings fall below a certain acceptable point. But there’s a catch, since the threshold changes from city to city. Why? “This is because there are cultural differences in the way people in different cities rate each other.” Interesting.