A new set of rules announced by taxi giant Uber will ban flirting and other activities deemed ‘inappropriate’ inside its shared car service UberPool. The new guidelines say physical contact between passengers, flirting or asking if other car-sharers are single could lead to a permanent ban from the app.
According to the Sun, the crackdown comes in a bid to reduce “inappropriate or unsafe behaviour” among strangers in their vehicles.
Although the rules currently only apply in the US, the firm said a similar policy will be implemented in the UK soon.
This is a cheaper service where passengers share a cab with other strangers travelling in the same direction. The company said: “You shouldn’t touch or flirt with other people in the car.”
Uber seems to be responding to a number of randy passengers using the cars for sex and dating.
According to the fashion magazine one Uber driver said most of the pool journeys he drove involved passengers “getting romantic with each other in his car.”
“They hook up themselves,” he said. He added that it’s a better way to meet someone than a dating site, and when asked if “the environment of the cab had unique sexual powers” he said: “I’m telling you, it does. I’m an eyewitness.”
A number of the rules relate to sexual misconduct between drivers and female passengers, as a large number of Uber drivers have been accused of rape since the app launched in 2009.
In a statement published alongside the new rules, it reminded users that “Uber has a no-sex rule.”
The statement added: “That’s no sexual conduct between drivers and riders, no matter what. We want Uber to be enjoyable and safe for everyone.”
Uber’s regulations also instruct customers on how to behave appropriately when using the services. Offering a guide to etiquette, it says it is “common courtesy not to shout, swear or slam the car door”.
Other bans include “inappropriate or abusive language or gestures” such as “asking overly personal questions” or making comments that are aggressive, sexual, discriminatory, or disrespectful.”
“Most riders show drivers the respect they deserve. But some don’t – whether it’s leaving trash in the car, throwing up in the back seat after too much alcohol or asking a driver to break the speed limit so they can get to their apartment on time.
“That kind of poor behaviour is not OK.”
This is the first time the car-hire company has introduced guidelines for customer conduct whilst using the service.
“We may take action against you for violating these terms, including permanently closing your account,” Uber said.