Uber has banned ‘flirting’ in its vehicles in a bid to protect female passengers.

Video by MWN

 

Since its inception Uber has been marred by reports of inappropriate behaviour by its drivers, particularly towards women.

Some female passengers have allegedly been raped or sexually assaulted, while for others the experience is simply unsettling.

Ask almost any frequent, female user of the ride-sharing app and she’ll tell you a story of a time she felt uncomfortable, or worse unsafe, while trying to get from A to B.

“I had an Uber driver ask me out recently,” one Mamamia staff member said, while discussing the the company’s new behaviour guidelines.

“Now I think about it, he was planting the seed throughout the trip – asking me if I lived with my ‘boyfriend’, etc. – and then as I was about to get out he dropped the question. It was incredibly uncomfortable. I can’t imagine he rated me five stars after my polite refusal.”

Advertisement Many women feel unsafe in Ubers. Image via iStock

The guidelines are for both passengers and drivers, and some are clearly aimed at cracking down on sexual misconduct from behind the wheel.

Among other things, they include a broad ban on 'flirting'.

Another member of the Mamamia team recently made an official complaint after a driver who appeared to take an 'extra long route' to extend a ten minute trip to over half an hour.

"He told me I kept myself 'well maintained', asked how I worked out and asked if he could work out with me," she said.

"[He] asked about my marital status and age, asked why I didn't sit in the front with him."

Uber responded to the complaint immediately and refunded the trip straight away.

By all accounts the company takes such reports seriously and, more than that, appears to be proactively trying to address the concerns of its passengers, as well as its drivers.

Its success will depend on the awareness of individual and their subjective understanding of what it means to flirt.

The full set of Community Guidelinesreleased on Thursday, call for both parties in the vehicle to respect each other and include a reminder of the company's longstanding "no sex rule".

FROM OUR NETWORK

"We all value our personal space and privacy," they state.

"It’s OK to chat with other people in the car. But please don’t comment on someone’s appearance or ask whether they are single.

"And don’t touch or flirt with other people in the car. As a reminder, Uber has a no sex rule. That’s no sexual conduct between drivers and riders, no matter what."

The move should make for better ratings across the board. Image via iStock

The rules also include instructions for passengers: don't leave rubbish, swear, yell, vomit or slam the door, for example.

“Any behaviour involving violence, sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity while using Uber can result in the immediate loss of your account."

It is an admirable attempt by the company to codify its anti-harassment stance; whether or not it will make women any safer remains to be seen.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION