Drugs, harassment, and racism – How Uber drivers can be banned in South Africa

Uber drivers work hard to stay on the ride-hailing platform, and they are subject to strict requirements from Uber to retain their position.

For example, ratings mean a lot more to drivers than riders, as the former can lose their ability to access the Uber app if they receive too many bad ratings.

Various other factors also come in to play, including the state of the driver’s car and the way they drive.

Uber outlines all the offensives which can result in drivers being deactivated on its website, in a specific policy page for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Driver profiles can be deactivated permanently or temporarily, depending on the transgression and performance of the driver in question.

Quality and ratings

Uber states that driver quality is measured in Star Ratings, Cancellation Rate, and Acception Rate, among other factors.

If a driver’s average rating over their last 500 trips falls below a certain threshold, their account will be deactivated.

“Your account may be reactivated on the platform after you provide proof of the steps you’ve taken to improve, for example by taking a quality improvement course in person or online,” Uber said.

Uber said that high-quality drivers typically have a cancellation rate of less than 5%, and if they exceed this by too much they may be temporarily deactivated. If they continue to cancel more than other drivers, they can be permanently deactivated.

The same is true for acceptance rates, with drivers being required to accept a certain percentage of trips.

“If you are consistently not accepting trip requests, we will notify you that your ability to remain online may be at risk,” Uber stated.

“If your acceptance rate does not improve or you are declining more often than other drivers in your city, you may temporarily be logged out of the app for a limited period of time.”

Drivers who engage in fraud (such as claiming false charges and increasing the time of a trip deliberately) or dangerous behaviour (such as speeding or reckless driving) will be permanently banned from the platform if found guilty.

Bad behaviour

Uber drivers can also be deactivated for violating a rider’s privacy. This rule can be breached in a number of ways.

If a driver discloses the personal information of a rider (such as their home address or telephone number) or “stalks” a former rider, they will be deactivated.

“Uber may deactivate the account of any driver who fails to respect the privacy of riders, for example: Contacting a rider after providing the service for personal reasons, such as requesting the rider a personal favor or for a date; Appearing at the residence of a former rider unannounced or stalking a former rider,” Uber stated.

Uber also requires drivers to comply with the law and rules of the road, as well as its community guidelines, to avoid deactivation.

Below are offences which may lead to driver deactivation based on these requirements:

  • Engaging in criminal actions
  • Not maintaining a driver’s licence
  • Refusing to provide services to riders based on their race, religion, sex, etc.
  • Accepting illegal rides and inappropriate payments
  • Allowing someone else to use your account
  • Carrying a firearm
  • Receiving a serious traffic citation or several citations which indicate unsafe driving
  • Using the Uber platform while under the influence of drugs or alcohol

When it comes to the deactivation of a driver due to drug-related activities, Uber said it may permanently ban a driver who receives several unconfirmed complaints of drug or alcohol use.

Uber said it does not tolerate racism, sexism, or any other form of discrimination on its platform.

“It is unacceptable to refuse to provide services based on characteristics like a person’s race, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, sex, marital status, gender identity, age or any other characteristic protected by law. Refusal or limitation of services for such unlawful reasons will result in permanent deactivation.”

Uber said that if a driver’s account has been deactivated, they may be eligible for reactivation under certain circumstances.

Now read: Uber to cut 400 jobs

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Drugs, harassment, and racism – How Uber drivers can be banned in South Africa