News & Politics

Did You Know That Uber Drivers Rate Passengers, Too?

The car service’s star system works both ways.

What does your Uber driver think of you? Photograph via Shutterstock.

You might think twice the next time you’re in an Uber car and on the verge of behaving
badly. You could get a bad rating!

Any regular user of Uber, the car service app, is familiar with its rating system.
After the driver has dropped a passenger at his or her destination, the passenger
rates the driver on a scale of 5 stars. A number of Uber users think it goes just
one way. It doesn’t. The drivers rate the passengers on the same 5-star scale. In
a type-A hub such as Washington, it’s just one more competitive hurdle to cross.

Rachel Holt of the DC Uber office says the system of rating passengers exists for the same reason
as rating drivers. “It’s about maintaining an excellent experience for both the rider
and the driver.” Still, what if a passenger receives a consistently low score, never
rising above one star? “I think we’d wonder what was causing that. We don’t routinely
do an analysis. We might reach out to the client and ask what’s going on. We would
want to see what we can do.”

At the same time, we wondered if there was a reward for passengers who regularly score
at the top of the scale. You know, brownie points? “No, no reward system,” she said.
“But when clients say really outstanding things about drivers and drivers about clients
we pass that information on.” What about an extra tip, just to ensure a high rating?
She stuck to the company line on that and said tips are included in the rate and
no additional tip is expected.

To its credit, though, Uber does have a sense of perspective. According to Holt, “If
every time a client gets in and throws up we are going to be upset, yes. But we’re
not concerned about whether they say ‘please’ or ‘thank you.’ ”

In the instance of a vomit episode, we think a whole lot more than “please” and “thank
you” would be in order. Or face being banned from Uber. Think about the shame.