More often than not, getting from Point A to Point B in your Uber is a pleasant experience for both rider and driver. “I’ve driven about 6,000 trips, and I’m grateful for every single one of them,” Nathan Fox, a driver in Cleveland, says. “To see the diversity and to interact with all of these different people and share a slice of their story is a privilege.” But even Fox knows it can get ugly. “My advice for other drivers has always been to have tough skin and a soft heart,” he says. “I think it makes me a better person to deal with the people who are difficult.”
We’ve all heard the horror stories and strange encounters of the rideshare kind, but on Thursday morning Uber updated their community guidelines to crack down on disrespectful riders. "[Our Community Guidelines] now explain in plain English the kind of behavior we expect from both riders and drivers when using Uber,” Regional General Manager Rachel Holt says. “And 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.”
Fox says he is a pretty tolerant driver and understands that everyone has their “off” days, so he rarely gyps riders of a 5-star rating. In fact, he’s only kicked one person out of his car, and it wasn’t even the Uber account holder — it was the rider’s guest. “He started getting angry and yelling and got physical in the car, so I pulled over and asked him to get out,” Fox says. “Other than that, the stuff that happens can be outlandish, but it’s usually laughable.”
But here’s the list of six things that won’t have your driver laughing and can get you kicked out of the car, according to the new Community Guidelines:
1. Leaving trash.
This just slows your driver down because they have to clean up after you and makes everything less efficient for everyone,” Fox says. Have a water bottle or sandwich wrapper with you? Take it when you go. Or be prepared to sacrifice a good rating. “If drivers see that you have a tendency to trash cars on your rating, they won’t pick you up.”
2. Being "disrespectful."
This one is probably the most subject to interpretation, but using verbal threats, and making comments or gestures that are aggressive, sexual, discriminatory, or disrespectful is a surefire way to get banned. “Treat your fellow riders and drivers as you would like to be treated yourself — with respect. It’s common courtesy not to shout, swear, or slam the car door… Most important of all, remember that when you use Uber you will meet people who may look different or think differently from you. Please respect those differences,” the new Guidelines read.
3. Asking if your driver or a fellow passenger is single.
According to the guidelines, you aren't supposed to comment on someone’s looks or ask if they are single. So if you were hoping to get a date out of your morning UberPOOL, sorry. Obviously, it’s never okay to touch other people in the car. So don’t. And as a reminder, Uber has a “no sex” rule. That means no sex or sexual conduct in the car.
4. Drinking a beer.
The guidelines generally ask you to follow local laws. Therefore, bringing open containers of alcohol or drugs into the car where it isn’t regionally legal will get you kicked out. Likewise, asking your driver to speed or traveling in large groups that exceed the number of seat belts in the car is grounds for cancellation.
5. Letting your kids use your account.
“We may deactivate any accounts associated with this type of activity, including: abusing promotions; collusion between rider and driver; disputing fares for fraudulent or illegitimate reasons; or duplicate accounts,” Holt says. And allowing your kids to use your account is out of the question. “Only adults can have an Uber rider account. If your child is using your account, a parent must be with them at all times.”
6. Carrying a gun (no matter what the local laws are).
“Please leave your guns at home,” Holt says. “Uber prohibits riders and drivers from carrying firearms in a vehicle while using our app.”