FROM September 19 new Uber guidelines will come into affect that will see a ban on handshakes, flirting and sex between drivers and passengers.
The stricter guidelines call for users to avoid “uncomfortable” conversation topics and even just asking a simple question could see a driver banned from the app.
Asking whether someone is single is seen as a breach of personal privacy under the new rules and is a topic that is best avoided, along with commenting on someone’s personal appearance.
“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,” the guidelines read.
“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 introduction of new guidelines follows allegations of two recent assaults carried out by Uber drivers against female passengers.
A 37-year-old man was charged with raping a 17-year-old girl after he picked her and two friends up in the Sydney CBD last month.
Police allege the driver dropped off her two friends at an address in Bondi before sexually assaulting the teen who was passed out after a night out.
He was arrested and is set to appear in court on October 25.
Last year, a Sydney Uber driver was found guilty of raping a woman in the back of his car outside a Kings Cross nightclub.
Muhammad Naveed, 41, was sentenced to a minimum of six years and four months in prison for raping a 22-year-old passenger in 2015.
The new Uber guidelines will come into force in just over two weeks time, with the company saying the change was about making the rides safer for everyone.
“We want Uber to be enjoyable and safe for everyone,” the guidelines state.
“These ground rules are designed to ensure that riders and drivers have a five-star ride when using Uber.”
Riders will also have to adhere to stricter rules or risk being temporarily or fully banned from the app.
Passengers are advised to treat the driver and car with respect by not slamming doors, cleaning up after themselves, not distracting the driver by talking loudly on the phone and not encouraging them to break any laws.
“Most important of all, remember that when you use Uber you will meet people who may look different or think differently from you,” the guidelines say.
“Please respect those differences. We want everyone to feel welcome when they use Uber.”
Both riders and drivers have the ability to report any breaches of the new guidelines, with the company saying they will investigate accordingly.
“If we are made aware of these kinds of problematic behaviour, we will contact you so we can investigate them,” the guidelines say.
“Depending on the nature of the concern, we may put a hold on your account during our investigation. If the issues raised are serious or a repeat offence, or you refuse to co-operate, you may lose access to Uber.
“Any behaviour involving violence, sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity while using Uber can result in the immediate loss of access to your account.”
Another change the new guidelines will bring is an update for the star rating system, which will see riders risk a six-month ban if their rating drops below four-out-of-five stars.
Once you hit this rating you will be sent a notification reminding you how you’re expected to behave.
If you’re rating does not improve, you will be sent two or three further emails to give you a chance to clean up your act before you are hit with the six-month ban.