A Philadelphia Uber driver has been suspended by the ridesharing company for packing heat while ferrying riders around the city.
It started after a man created a Facebook post (now set to private) that showed a handgun on the floor of a car. He explained that he and a friend climbed into an UberX ride and got a little uneasy when they saw what was on the floor in the passenger seat where the man’s friend was sitting.
The person who posted that photo, who didn’t respond to a request for comment, wrote on Facebook: “This was at my friend’s feet in the passenger seat when we got into our UberX today.”
We wondered: Does Uber have a rule against carrying a gun while driving for the company?
Despite Uber not considering its “driver-partners” employees in the traditional sense of the word, it does have a strict firearms policy: “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.”
An Uber spokesman told Billy Penn that the San Francisco-based company has a “safety response team” that’s looking into the incident. The team has located the driver in question. While its investigation is underway, that driver has been suspended from using the Uber platform.
The company’s safety response team was created after a series of incidents happened across the world in which Uber drivers made headlines for sexual violence, assault and other crimes. In December, the company said it’s reevaluating its platform to increase safety features. It added two new safety features in India that it plans to expand elsewhere: One is an SOS button that allows riders to contact police directly from the app. Another is a “Send Status” feature that replaces the current “Share My ETA” button and allows riders to share their exact location at all times with multiple people.
So what should you do if you find yourself in a similar situation and you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in an Uber? The company had apparently considered creating an alternate reporting system here in the United States, but ditched that idea after conversations with local law enforcement agencies across the country. They recommend calling 911 or local police if you really feel in danger.
Uber also offered these three other safety tips for before, during and after a ride:
- Before your ride, you can see your driver’s name, photo, license plate. Riders should confirm this information before entering the vehicle.
- During your ride, you can share your trip details, including driver info and ETA with friends or family with our Share My ETA feature
- After your ride, you can rate your driver or submit any feedback and our 24/7 support team will be able to quickly respond