- Uber will soon bar passengers with low ratings, the company said this week.
- Some people compared the new plan to “Black Mirror” and China’s social-credit system.
- Want to increase your rating? Here’s how, according to more than two dozen drivers.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Uber said this week that riders with low ratings could be barred from the app if they don’t get their act together.
For years, drivers have been expected to meet minimum ratings in order to keep working on the platform. Now, riders will be expected to do the same.
“Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability,” Kate Parker, Uber’s head of safety brand and initiatives, said in a blog post. “While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it’s the right thing to do.”
Business Insider asked drivers what they thought of the new penalties for passengers, and their responses were resoundingly positive. Here’s what they had to say (last names have been excluded for privacy purposes):
It comes down to fairness.
“Drivers have to maintain a certain score, so why shouldn’t the riders have to do the exact same?” Stephen, a driver in North Carolina, said. “It’s only fair. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.”
Drivers also hope it can help make the rating system more just.
“It’s great, because some people are just unpleasant to everyone for sport and it makes the rating system inaccurate,” Barb, a driver in Colorado, said.
Finally, bad passengers might be reprimanded.
“I applaud it,” Patrick, a driver in Los Angeles, said. “A lot of passengers act like there are no repercussions to the way that they behave in my car. I think that if they knew that a low enough rating would get them banned it might help. Riders having a bad day will take it out on the driver and that makes the job worse than it needs to be.”
It could make the platform safer, too.
The news came just days after terrifying video surfaced of a Lyft driver in New York being beaten by a passenger. A union that represents 6,000 drivers in the city came out in support of the new passenger rules:
“Holding riders accountable for their behaviour on the Uber platform is an important safety measure to protect drivers as well as fellow riders who may book shared rides,” a spokesperson for the Independent Drivers Guild, said in a statement.
“While most riders are respectful, banning riders who threaten driver safety, spew racist rants, and disrespect or damage our vehicles is the right thing to do. For too long there has been one-sided accountability and this is a positive step toward correcting that.”
Some drivers worry it will be too easy for banned riders to make a new account.
“The banned passenger will get a new phone number and a pre-paid debit card and will be back in the saddle again,” David, a driver in California, said. “I had a driver who attacked me arrested, that made me feel better than any ban.”
An Uber spokesperson tells Business Insider that the company’s fraud detection systems “use machine learning to analyse a number of attributes and signals about an account at the time it’s created including phone number, device ID, IP address, payment information, etc. If these signals match attributes of deactivated accounts, it triggers an additional investigation.”
Others doubted Uber’s ability to enforce it, given the company’s struggles with minors.
Uber and Lyft explicitly prohibit passengers under 18 years old from taking a ride on their own, but it doesn’t stop many parents from requesting rides for their children, or teenagers with phones and cards from making accounts.
“If Uber can’t even keep under-aged kids from creating accounts, how will they stop low star passengers?” Brad, a driver in California, said. “It’s all fluff.”
What about if the unruly passenger isn’t the requester?
“A lot of times it’s not the passenger who’s the troublemaker,” Andy, a driver in Boston, said. “Many times it’s someone in their party. How are they going to ban them? This is a step in the right direction but, like most things Uber does, it’s a halfhearted step.”
Will more rules for riders be next?
“This is absolutely a great plan,” Ellis, a driver in Dallas, said. “It seems like Uber/Lyft are doing a lot to protect passengers but not the drivers. Drivers are required to have a profile photo, but often we do not have any idea of whom we are picking up. We only have a name to go by. It puts drivers in a compromising position when arriving to pick up an unknown passenger when there are multiple people standing around.”
- Uber’s first quarterly earnings report as a public company tops Wall Street expectations
- People are freaking out about Uber’s plans to bar riders with low ratings, comparing it to a dystopian ‘Black Mirror’ episode and China’s social-credit system
- Uber will bar passengers if their ratings drop to a certain level. Here’s how to make sure you don’t get booted.