Uber passengers who habitually leave their trash behind and disrespect their drivers may soon get the boot.
The ride-hailing company announced Tuesday that riders with ratings that are "significantly below average" may lose access to the app, part of a rollout of the company's updated community guidelines, which riders must abide by to continue using the service.
Uber, however, said that bans for bad behaviour won't come as a surprise to offending passengers. Riders will receive several notifications before they lose access to the app, the company said. And they also will have opportunities to improve their rating to remain in good standing. Tips to boost a user's rating include: "encouraging polite behaviour, avoiding leaving trash in the vehicle and avoiding requests for drivers to exceed the speed limit," Uber said.
"Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability," Kate Parker, Uber's head of safety brand and initiatives, wrote in a blog post-Tuesday. "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."
It was unclear if these would be lifetime bans or if there is a procedure for reinstatement for deactivated riders.
Uber did not disclose what the rating threshold would be for riders who risk being deactivated, saying only that riders who develop a poor rating may be kicked off the app. Uber passengers can see their rating, which appears underneath their name, by opening the main menu while in the app. Just as riders can rate drivers, drivers can rate passengers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. A passenger's rating is the average of the ratings they have received from drivers. According to Uber, very few people have a perfect rating of 5.
The app provides riders with tips on how to earn a high rating from drivers, including: arriving on time, extending courtesy and a positive attitude to drivers, and buckling their seat belt.
Uber drivers have long been required to maintain a minimum rating to stay on the app. According to Business Insider, drivers with a rating of 4.6 or lower may lose access to the service. But critics of the ratings systems for on-demand services have raised concerns that the scoring is prone to bias and is confusing. On the Uber app, a 4-star rating is defined as "OK, but had an issue," a 3-star rating is "Disappointing," 2-stars is "Bad," and 1-star is "Terrible."
Uber said it will launch a campaign to educate riders and drivers about its updated community guidelines. Riders in the United States and Canada will be the first to see an in-app prompt with a summary of the guidelines and will be asked to confirm that they understand them.
"By educating customers and partners about the Community Guidelines, asking them to confirm they understand, and holding everyone accountable, we can help Uber be welcoming and safe for all," Parker said.
How to find your Uber rating
Your Uber rating is the average is calculated by adding your individual trip ratings (from 1 to 5 stars), and then dividing that number by the total number of ratings you've received, up to 500.
To see your rating, you simply need to tap on the menu button, represented by the three lines in the upper left corner of the app.
Underneath your name, you will see your Uber rating as indicated by your number stars.
Tips to get a five-star rating
Time and time again passengers pin their pick-up point in the wrong spot.
Many passengers try and get picked up in bus zones or difficult areas that leave drivers frustrated as they try to locate you.
Take an extra moment to confirm an easy pick-up location. It also helps to use the in-app messaging tool to communicate specific details with the driver. This will go a long way to achieving a good rating.
2. Saying hello
Sounds simple, right? But drivers are finding too many passengers fail to use their manners - like "please" or "thank you".
While some passengers may not want to engage in conversation, using basic manners will create a positive first impression and bump that rating up.
3. Don't be the annoying backseat driver
Everyone has that one friend who does this. "Turn here. You should have gone left. Follow this shortcut."
The Uber driver doesn't want to have to put up with your belief that your sense of direction is superior to that of the GPS on their phone.
Making last-minute alterations is insulting to the driver.
Don't tell the driver to run orange and red lights. Be polite, respectful and patient. Because maybe then you'll turn that two-star rating into a five.
4. Take your rubbish
If you're bringing rubbish into the car, do the right thing and dispose of it yourself.
If you're lucky, the driver may offer to do it for you. But don't be the one who leaves a mess in the driver's car. They're the ones who have to clean it up when they return home.
5. Don't slam doors
Respect the driver's property. Saying thank you and goodbye before gently closing the door will leave a positive final impression.
Slamming the door shut while in a rush can show disrespect towards the driver.
Finish the drive off on the good foot and you'll see your Uber rating hit five.