Uber already has rules for its drivers. Most of them are common sense restrictions, culminating in a prohibition against any sort of sexual activity between drivers and passengers. But now for the first time it has published what is calls Community Guidelines that set forth what passengers are not allowed to do in the back seat while in an Uber car.
In general, respect for others and common courtesy are expected. No loud or threatening language and no profanity laced tirades. Inappropriate gestures are also prohibited. But what Uber is especially sensitive to is any conduct of a sexual nature while riding in one of their cars. That means no sexual activity “no matter what,” Uber says. Does that mean a couple may not exchange a chaste kiss? Probably. Rules are rules. If you wouldn’t do it or say in front of your mother, it is probably inappropriate while riding with an Uber driver.
Passengers are also cautioned not to threaten the driver or ask intensely personal questions. That may may a problem for white supremacists who feel newly empowered based on the moronic conduct of the president-elect. Passengers may not ask each other for phone numbers and any attempt to contact a person you shared a ride with after you reach your destination is also taboo unless you have their permission.
When I was a younger person, it was considered okay to troll the aisles of local grocery stores hoping to meet someone, especially if it was Friday night and your social calendar for the weekend was looking grim. I never did anything like that myself, of course, but I know plenty of people who did. Apparently such rowdy behavior will not be tolerated in the connected world of the future.
Be advised that driving around in an Uber hoping to hook up with someone who shares a ride with you is a no no and will get you excluded from using Uber in the future. Touching anyone else while riding or flirting along the way are both prohibited. Purposefully damaging the car or anything inside it is grounds for losing your Uber privileges. Presumably leaving trash or food behind will also draw the wrath of the Uber gods.
Here’s one that will get some folks riled up. Drivers and passengers are prohibited from carrying a firearm while riding in an Uber car regardless of what local laws may say. Gun rights groups are already mad at Levi’s for prohibiting guns in its stores. They are threatening a nationwide boycott of Levi’s for its crass refusal to honor the provisions of the Second Amendment. Perhaps Uber will suffer a similar fate. Nothing says freedom like toting a weapon with you every waking moment.
Lastly, discrimination based on race, religion, sex, or gender identity is prohibited. That’s not going to go down well with lots of people in Trumperica who feel constrained to tell others what color their skin should be, what they should wear on their heads, and how they should conduct themselves in the privacy of their own homes. Sounding very Big Brother-ish, Uber’s guidelines spell out precisely how a customer could lose his or her membership privileges:
“What leads to you losing access to your account? There is a minimum average rating in each city. This is because there are cultural differences in the way people in different cities rate each other. We will alert you over time if your rating is approaching this limit, and you’ll also get information about quality improvement courses that may help you improve. However, if your average rating still falls below the minimum after multiple notifications, you will lose access to your account. We may allow you to regain access to your account if you can provide proof that you completed one of these quality improvement courses.”
Many of the rules are little more than guidelines that will be sporadically and arbitrarily applied. But since car sharing is supposed to be the wave of the future, it is probably a good time to begin defining what acceptable behavior will be when we all start using pay-for-use mobility services instead of private cars to get around. Basically, it will be like having your mother along telling you you to sit up straight, keep both feet flat on the floor, and keep your hands to yourself.