- Uber will soon bar passengers with low ratings, the company announced this week.
- The company did not say what minimum riders would need to meet or what infractions might ding them the most.
- In recent months, Business Insider has asked more than two dozen drivers about their biggest pet peeves.
- Here are some simple ways to make sure your rating is as high as possible.
Uber announced this week that it would soon begin kicking passengers with low ratings off its app.
The company did not disclose any details but added that the minimum score (on a 1-5 scale) would be calculated on a per-city average, based on rider ratings in specific markets. The policy will apply to Uber Eats and the company’s Jump bikes and scooters as well, a spokesperson said.
Drivers have long been expected to maintain minimum ratings in order to keep working for Uber, and the company’s head of safety brand and initiatives said in a press release that the goal was to ensure safety and respect for everyone on the platform.
“Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability,” Kate Parker wrote in the announcement. “Drivers have long been expected to meet a minimum rating threshold which can vary city to city. While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it’s the right thing to do.”
Concerned your rating might be too low? It’s easy to check.
To find out your rating, an average of ratings from your past rides, simply open the Uber app and visit the main menu. The number below your name, is your rating.
If you are at risk of being booted, Uber will warn you first and give you ample time to rectify your standing, it said. If your score is already shining, keeping it that way should be simple enough. In conversations with more than two dozen Uber drivers, Business Insider has learned some of the most annoying rider behaviours that could get you dinged.
Most importantly, just be polite.
Many passengers, and probably many of the drivers, want to ride in silence. Still, drivers told Business Insider that contact with riders was one of the few human interactions they might have in a shift, given that they have no boss or office.
“I love to drive, but sometimes when I pick up a customer they don’t say hello and just get in and start giving orders,” Dorothy, a driver in the New York City suburbs, said.
Like many service workers, drivers often bear the brunt of customer service for Uber.
“Do not be rude to the driver,” Toni, a driver in New York, said. “Everyone has a bad day, but you are in someone’s personal vehicle.”
Don’t slam the door.
Echoing Toni’s point about your ride often being in a driver’s personal vehicle, slamming the door can also be a quick way to get under someone’s skin.
“Far too many people slam my very light doors,” Joe, a driver in Phoenix, said.
Even Uber’s CEO agrees. “Don’t slam the door,” he said in a recent interview.
“There’s only one thing that really gets under my skin, even if it really shouldn’t, and that’s slamming my door,” Frank, a driver in Palm Springs, California, said. “It’s probably less than 1% of passengers who I’ll never see again, but it’s still one of those things.”
Smells can be more devastating than a mild inconvenience.
Sure, everyone likes the smell of freshly cooked food every now and then, but the odor from your delicious takeout can linger well beyond when you exit your Uber ride. The next passenger might not enjoy fried chicken or Chinese takeout as much as you and could give the driver a bad rating for their interesting choice of air-freshener scent.
Drugs can be even more dangerous.
The lingering odor of marijuana could cause serious headaches for a driver. If the next passenger reports even the possibility of a driver working while impaired because of the cannabis scent, they could end up booted from the platform for an indefinite amount of time while the company investigates.
“Young people get in my car all the time reeking of marijuana,” Wallace, a driver in Connecticut, said. “I don’t mind personally – as long as they aren’t smoking in the car – but if another passenger so much as complains about the car smelling like weed, it can get me deactivated from the app.”
Mahmoud, a driver in Los Angeles, said he’s sure to air out the car afterward to avoid any complications.
“If you smell like weed, I have to air out the car before picking up the next person,” he said. “I don’t care necessarily, but I have to protect myself. The person who gets in next could complain or say I was driving under the influence.”
Be ready to go when the ride arrives.
Uber drivers are paid for the time between arriving at a requested ride and beginning the trip, but it’s not much. Since time is money, drivers can get frustrated having to wait for passengers.
“Be ready when you request the ride,” Toni said. “Drivers in my market are only paid less than a quarter per minute to wait, which is not a profit since I could be making more on a trip. It sets a negative vibe for the whole ride.”
Jeff, a driver in Colorado, summed up the waiting game succinctly: “You hit the button to request the ride. What are you doing?”