Uber users in the UK will soon be locked out of the app unless they recommit to the firm’s community guidelines, the ridesharing giant has revealed.
As of this week, Uber riders and drivers will be seeing alerts telling them to agree to the guidelines, which ban behaviours including racism and sexual harassment.
Users who do not recommit to the guidelines will eventually be unable to get online on the platform and effectively be ‘locked out’ of it.
Uber told MailOnline that nothing has actually changed in the community guidelines recently; the firm essentially wants to bring the guidelines to each user’s attention by making them re-agree to them.
The guidelines prohibit behaviours such as racism, discrimination, fraud, sexual harassment, violence and much more.
Uber said the alerts that prompt users to commit to the guidelines (pictured) will appear as a push notification or as a message in a Uber user’s inbox
UBER’S COMMUNITY GUIDELINES
Below are some of the behaviours banned under the physical guidelines
– Physical contact*
– Sexual assault and misconduct
– Threatening and rude behaviour
– Property damage
– Drugs and alcohol
– Firearms and weapons ban
* Limited exceptions are permitted, such as helping a disabled person get out the car
Getting users to re-agree to the guidelines will make trips ‘safer and more respectful’, Uber claims.
‘At Uber, we believe that everyone has the right to move freely, no matter who they are, where they come from, or where they are going,’ said Bex Xiao, head of community operations at Uber UK.
‘We want every trip to be a respectful and positive experience for both riders and drivers, which is why we are asking everyone who uses our app to recommit to our community guidelines.’
How long users will have to agree with the guidelines again before they’re locked out of Uber depends on how often they interact with the app, Uber said.
But on average, a rider will not be able to get online after one trip, unless they recommit.
Uber said the alerts will appear as a push notification or as a message in a Uber user’s inbox.
They will appear for Uber riders and drivers, couriers, Uber Eats users, Uber Eats merchants and businesses.
Uber’s community guidelines are lengthy, so users might have to set aside some time to read them properly before they agree to them.
They prohibit any forms of sexual harassment, including ‘commenting on someone’s appearance’ or asking about their relationship status.
Uber users could soon be locked out of the app unless they recommit to the firm’s community guidelines, the firm has said (file photo)
There have already reportedly been thousands of sexual assault cases involving Uber riders and drivers.
UBER CHECKS IN IF IT SEES A DRIVER TAKING AN ODD ROUTE
As of December 2021, Uber checks in with riders if it detects suspicious behaviour from a driver.
If the app detects a driver taking unusual routes or making prolonged stops, it will send a message to both the rider and the driver ‘to check if everything is OK’.
It will also check in with the rider and driver if a trip finishes in a location that isn’t the rider’s chosen destination.
A pop-up will automatically appear that gives the rider the chance to call for help – either by calling 999 or the Uber safety line.
In December 2020, the BBC reported that Uber had refused to report more than 1,200 alleged victims of sexual assault involving its drivers.
Uber users – either the driver or rider – are already able to flag that something is wrong on Uber using an Emergency Button, which is accessible by tapping the shield icon on their app’s map screen during a trip.
Uber also recently introduced a feature where it checks in with riders if it detects suspicious behaviour from a driver, such as taking unusual routes.
Uber’s community guidelines also prohibit any type of discrimination, which can be against someone based on traits such as age, colour, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, appearance, race and religion.
They also ban taking drugs or drinking alcohol, damaging property and committing any types of fraud.
Fraud can include drivers deliberately increasing the time or distance of a trip or delivery and creating fraudulent fees, like false cleaning fees.
Not adhering to any one of the guidelines means Uber users could be locked out of their account.
It’s part of a continued effort to educate everyone in the Uber community’ about anti-racism and a ‘zero-tolerance discrimination policy’.
‘Having respect and the importance of behaving respectfully toward one another cannot be understated,’ Uber said.
Uber has stressed that it’s not just drivers who are the perpetrators of assault. A recent high profile example is the murder of Uber driver Ali Asghar in Oldham last October.
Mr Asghar was beaten to death by two violent passengers when he asked them to stop eating chips in his vehicle. Last month, the attackers were sentenced to a collective total of 28 years in prison.
Uber, which is headquartered in San Francisco, is currently operating in the UK thanks to an 30-month licence extension granted by Transport for London (TfL) in March this year.
The ridesharing firm has had a torrid time getting approval from TfL to operate on a long-term basis.
TfL has previously cited passenger safety among the issues with the platform.
UBER IS PROVIDING VEHICLES TO DELIVER SUPPLIES TO AREAS OF UKRAINE
Uber is providing a fleet of small vehicles to help the UN deliver emergency food and water supplies to war-torn areas of Ukraine.
As part of a collaboration with the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), Uber is using a custom-built version of its platform for relief efforts.
Larger vehicles face issues reaching in-need Ukrainians in built-up areas, such as structural damage and high threat of Russian bombardment.
So the initiative is using a fleet of smaller vehicles such as vans to send relief items from warehouses to people in need in densely populated parts of the country.
The technology has been custom-built for free by Uber engineers to meet the needs of WFP operations on the ground.
It means that WFP are able to build a network of drivers using small cars or vans who are contracted directly with WFP.