Uber unveils new feature to make trips safer for LGBTQ+ passengers

Uber has launched a new anti-discrimination button on the platform to help LGBTQ+ people feel safe during journeys. 

The ride-hailing and food delivery platform’s help centre – which can be located on the Uber app and website – now has a standalone discrimination reporting option to make it simpler for riders and drivers to report hateful incidents. 

Uber said the new feature is part of the business’ commitment to eliminating LGBTQ+ discrimination, make trips safer and foster a more respectful environment for drivers. 

Everyone who uses Uber – from its drivers and couriers to those who just use it to hitch a ride somewhere – have been encouraged to recommit to its community guidelines which has a zero-tolerance discrimination police. 

Those who don’t will eventually be unable to access the platform all together, hopefully ending hate in its tracks on Uber.

Bex Xiao, head of community operations for Uber UK, said the organisation believes “everyone has the right to move freely” no matter how they identify, “where they come from” or “where they are going”. 

“We want every trip to be a respectful and positive experience for both riders and drivers, which is why we are asking everyone who uses our app to recommit to our community guidelines,” Xiao added. 

There have long been reports that LGBTQ+ people faced discrimination while trying to use Uber’s services. 

A gay man claimed he was kicked out of an Uber in 2020 and punched twice in the face after a bigoted driver discovered that he was gay. Earlier that same year, a gay man and his date were told to stop kissing by their driver “because she is a Christian”.

Uber faced harsh criticism in 2021 after a trans woman said she wasn’t allowed to change her name on the app, resulting in her being misgendered and “outed” while using the app. The platform apologised for her “poor experience” and promised to improve its processes for the future.

The Uber app has also updated how it celebrated the LGBTQ+ community with riders by launching a new product feature, Uber Celebrate, with Pride at Uber – a global group of over 1,200 Uber staff promoting LGBTQ+ inclusion and representation. 

The product feature will see tiny rainbow Pride flags adorn the traditional car icons in the Uber app and was launched in honour of Pride month, which came to a close Thursday (30 June). 

Robert Downer, global chair with Pride at Uber, said the group is “thrilled to be celebrating” the LGBTQ+ community with the new safety feature as well as the in-app pride decorations.

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating world Pride Month with the launch of our in-app pride vehicle icons, and also by ensuring we create a safe and respectful space for all of our customers, couriers and drivers through our new community guidelines campaign,” Downer said.

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