A businessman in London is claiming his low Uber passenger rating is due to his sexuality. Svend Littauer, 45, says the reason he’s got 3.4 out of 5 is because he’s gay, the Evening Standard reports.
Drivers on the taxi service app rate you every time you ride. After each journey, they grade their customers out of 1 to 5. Nobody wants a low score. It’s thought that if you’ve dropped below 4, you’re less likely to be picked up on a busy Friday night. It works in the same way that customers rate drivers. (If you don’t know your score, by the way, you’ll probably want to get it. Here’s our explainer.)
Littauer, CEO for a services company, tells the Evening Standard that he thinks he’s the victim of homophobia and that’s the only possible reason why his rider rating is so low. He told the paper that a driver explained that “anything under a rating of 4 was a bit scary.”
Littauer, who hails from south London and often travels with his other half, says he’s not been out of order or behaved “inappropriately” while travelling with the service. “I’ve not been abusive at all so the only thing I can put it down to is the fact that we are a gay couple. It is the only explanation,” he remarks.
In the UK, Uber is legally obliged to provide passenger score information when requested. In most other countries the company will also comply. Uber explains how ratings are graded in a blog post on their site. The company describes the relationship between driver and passenger as a “two-way street.”
It writes: “An Uber trip should be a good experience for drivers too — drivers shouldn’t have to deal with aggressive, violent, or disrespectful riders. If a rider exhibits disrespectful, threatening, or unsafe behaviour, they, too, may no longer be able to use the service.”
Uber lists several tips on getting a “stellar rider rating.” Passengers are advised to make sure their location given to drivers is accurate, not to overcrowd cars, treat your driver with care, and be ready when the Uber lift turns up.
It’s not known whether Littauer has really been the victim of discrimination. But it’s not the first time a gay couple has spoken up about a negative Uber experience.
In January a gay couple from London claimed they were kicked out of an Uber after they kissed and cuddled in the back seat of their vehicle. Corey Watts and Jordan Sloan ordered an Uber on New Year’s Day.