Uber's Chief Security Officer has recommended drivers keep a Bop It on the back seat to entertain drunks and keep their cab safe.
In the UK we get pretty chuffed if an Uber driver so much as hands over a bottle of water on a ride home from the pub.
Now, the cab company’s Chief Security Officer, Joe Sullivan, has suggested employees hand out something even better to the somewhat inebriated – a retro children’s toy.
Bop It, a Hasbro toy that has existed in various manifestations since 1996, is “a great way to keep drunk riders entertained so they don’t distract their driver”, says Sullivan.
The Uber boss spotted the trend in Charlotte, North Carolina, and recommends it to drivers elsewhere.
“If you use the Uber app in Charlotte, North Carolina you might find a Bop It toy in the back of your driver’s car. Folks there have found it’s a great way to keep drunk riders entertained so they don’t distract their driver.”
This also details a new pilot program in place that uses Gyrometer smartphone technology to measure the exact movements of your Uber car.
“If a rider complains that a driver accelerated too fast and broke too hard, we can review that trip using data,” says Sullivan. “If the feedback is accurate, then we can get in touch with the driver. And if it’s not, we could use the information to make sure a driver’s rating isn’t affected.”
In addition to curbing speeding and unsafe driving, the company hopes that this data will also be useful in determining more accurate time (and therefore fare) estimations.
On New Years Eve my Uber was involved in a minor collision with another car on a busy London roundabout. I have my suspicions of who was to blame, but nothing that I’d vouch by.
If data can help Uber pinpoint and discipline unsafe drivers, that has got to be a good thing.
As someone who’s often bored in cabs, I also really want to be offered a game to play on my next journey home.
I’m entirely not sure why Sullivan thinks a toy that loudly instructs “Twist it! Pull it!” is any less distracting than bog-standard drunken tomfoolery, but I sincerely hope he succeeds in bringing the back-seat Bop It to Britain.
Kitty Knowles is a Senior Features Writer at The Memo. Kitty previously worked as an online journalist for GQ. She can be found tweeting @KittyGKnowles.