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If the 'Uber Back Seat Club' is on your bucket list, you may get banned for life

Uber wants everyone to be safe and enjoy their trips with the ridesharing company. Sounds good, but the company acknowledges that not everyone’s idea of a good time may be on the same wavelength.  For that reason Uber has issued Community Guidelines, to suggest what riders can do to ensure everyone has a good time. The guidelines also list five ways U.S. riders can “lose access to Uber.”

We’ll start with the good behavior suggestions. Uber wants us all to treat other riders and drivers with respect. One way of showing respect, according to the company, is allowing others their personal space, and just to clarify that means keeping your voice down, not commenting on others’ appearance, and no flirting or touching, and definitely no sex. To be perfectly clear, Uber says, “That’s no sexual conduct between drivers and riders, no matter what.” On the chance that a driver gives an Uber ride to a partner, we assume the rule applies only while in the car with the ride timer running.

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Other suggestions for keeping the Uber experience positive for all include supervising your kids, giving feedback by rating drivers and riders, and following local laws, including seat belt laws. For drivers specifically, the guidelines state they should not speed, text while driving, use a handheld phone, or drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or when tired or drowsy. Uber also requests everyone “please leave your guns at home.”

So what are the specific behaviors that can get riders banned from Uber? The list starts with damaging property while on the ride, which includes smoking, intentionally spilling food or drink, or puking because of booze. There’s no clarification about vomiting due to illness.

Physical contact between drivers and fellow riders will get you booted, particularly if you break the “no sex” rule. Hitting as well as hitting on someone else means your ticket to ride Uber is permanently canceled. Swearing, threatening, using abusive language and gestures qualify for future ride denial as well, as does “Unwanted contact with the driver or passenger after the trip is over.” That last part is the “no-stalking” rule, though that’s not what Uber calls it.

And finally, breaking local laws while riding with Uber means no more trips. The guidelines mention carrying open alcohol containers or drugs in the car, piling in more people than there are seat belts, urging the driver to exceed the speed limit, or using Uber as transportation to commit a crime.

If Uber learns you engaged in any of the above “problematic behaviors,” the company will contact you to investigate, and may suspend your account during the investigation. Serious or repeat offenders or people who refuse to cooperate could lose their right to ride. Particularly egregious behavior such as violence, sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity while using Uber all can result in immediate account cancellation.

Uber’s guidelines make sense for passenger and driver safety and comfort. By putting expectations and rules in writing the company avoids having to define what it means by proper rider behavior whenever it becomes an issue.

Just to recap, chatting up the driver while holding an open can of beer and neglecting your seatbelt could potentially get you banned from Uber for three lifetimes. It’s possible that the truly creative could go for five problematic behaviors on the same ride, but no one needs to set a record and no one will keep score.