The safety of drivers and passengers was at stake this week with two separate but huge stories about Uber’s gun policy and an unfortunate incident involving an Uber driver and a minor. Today, RSG contributor, John Ince, takes a look at these stories and more.
Sum and Substance: Car service app juggernaut Uber has quietly changed its policy to prohibit its drivers from carrying firearms while they’re on duty. Previously, Uber had deferred to local laws when it came to whether or not its drivers could carry guns. In an update to the Legal section on Uber’s website there’s a new “Uber Firearms Prohibition Policy,” first noticed by The New Republic. It says: We seek to ensure that everyone using the Uber digital platform — both driver-partners and riders — feels safe and comfortable using the service. During a ride arranged through the Uber platform, Uber and its affiliates therefore prohibit possessing firearms of any kind in a vehicle. Any rider or driver found to have violated this prohibition may lose access to the Uber platform.
My Take: Belatedly it appears the Uber has recognized that it’s sitting on a PR power keg with this issue. When the Chicago driver used a gun in his car to defuse a situation nearby, he was hailed as a hero, but it raised eyebrows when passengers realized that their driver could be packing heat. Here again, we see that Uber must be ultra sensitive to fallout in the media from any issue that potentially compromises the safety of the passenger. Without that, after all, Uber doesn’t have a business.