If you’ve taken a ride with Uber, the popular on-demand car service, you probably remember that at the end of your ride, you were prompted to rate your driver.
A rating of one star implies poor service (maybe your Uber driver was uber late, or got pulled over on the way to your destination), and a perfect five star score meant the ride left you very satisfied with the service.
Because Uber drivers go through an arduous process to become licensed, the ratings help maintain the company’s credibility, and drivers have an incentive to keep their scores high: their jobs.
But while you’re rating your driver, your driver may also be rating you.
According to a frequent rider in Washington DC, a friendly Uber driver who taxied her from the bar to her apartment one Saturday night, told her that he was happy to pick her up because her “score was so high — five stars!”
The driver told her that at the same time she had requested as driver, another request had come in. That passenger’s score, he said, wasn’t as high as hers. In fact, it was on the lower side, three stars.
According to the driver, scores are given to passengers the same way they’re given to drivers, except as a passenger, you don’t know your score.
A spokesperson for Uber confirmed drivers rate passengers too.
To be clear, this isn’t a new practice, and it has been mentioned in various smaller blogs and forums before. But as Uber grows and reaches a massive $US3.4 billion valuation, it’s worth noting how the system works. Rating passengers is a way that the drivers can make sure they aren’t going to be wasting their time or jeopardizing their own rating.
According to the DC-based driver, your score can go down for directing the driver to the wrong place, being too drunk, or treating the driver poorly.
It doesn’t come as a shock, of course, that this type of behaviour would end up coming back to haunt you later as you’re searching for a way to get home. But this startup’s covert practice serves as a reminder that Uber is not a right, it’s a privilege.
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