Understanding the Lyft Driver Rating System

We live in the sharing economy era. Instead of staying in a hotel, you spend the night in an Airbnb. Instead of renting an office, you use a coworking space. And instead of taking a cab, you use Uber or Lyft. These platforms all take existing assets and make them accessible to a wide range of people through the use of digital technology.

However, a sharing economy only works if the participants can trust each other. In traditional economies, higher regulatory powers such as governments and corporations ensure this trust. In sharing economies, however, the source of this trust is accountability to the community. This generally comes in the form of ratings and reviews.

If someone violates the community standards, they must suffer the consequences of a low rating (making it difficult for them to participate in the specific sharing economy product in the future). In theory, at least, sharing economy-based products become self-policing.

This is exactly how Lyft works. It has a system of ratings and reviews for passengers and drivers. Through this system, both passengers and drivers remain accountable for their actions. In this article, we’ll examine how the Lyft driver rating system works, including the different factors that Lyft passengers can use to rate drivers and what drivers can do to boost their ratings.

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How Do Lyft Driver Ratings Work?

Understanding the Lyft Driver Rating System

When a passenger finishes a ride, they have the option to rate their experience (and leave their driver a tip). The “optional” part is important to understand. Passengers are not required to leave a rating, and many do not even bother. For those that do, however, they have a few basic options.

First, there’s the “star” rating. The star rating is a scale from 1-5 stars that passengers can give to rate their ride experience. According to Lyft, “5 stars means the ride was great and met Lyft standards.” What does this mean, exactly? Lyft says riders should consider “whether your driver was friendly, safe, a good navigator, and made you want to use Lyft again.”

In addition to the star rating, riders can also leave more detailed feedback. If you leave a 5-star rating, you can choose to explain what made the ride great. Lyft gives four preset options; you can choose any combination of them that you like. The options are as follows:

  • “Good Driving”
  • “Friendly Driver”
  • “Clean Car”
  • “Fun Conversation”

Below these preset options, there’s also the option to leave personalized comments if you so desire.

If you give the ride a rating of less than five stars, Lyft will ask you to give feedback on how the driver could do better. The idea is not to attack or insult the driver, but rather to give objective feedback on how they can improve future rides. For instance, if the driver was speeding or being reckless, that would be something to note.

How Lyft Uses Driver Ratings

What exactly does Lyft do with the feedback that passengers leave for drivers? The first thing to understand is the importance of ratings of three stars or less. If a passenger rates a driver three stars or lower (or vice versa), then Lyft’s algorithm will not match the two of them for future rides. While it’s already unlikely that the same Lyft drivers and passengers will be matched twice, this system helps prevent conflict.

Beyond that, do Lyft driver ratings have any effect on driver compensation or experience? In theory, no. Driver pay is not tied to driver rating. However, having too low of a rating could affect your ability to get rides indirectly. When you accept a ride request, the passenger can see your rating. Most passengers may not pay attention to this, but if someone saw that your rating was low and didn’t like the impression that gave them of you, they could cancel the ride.

Furthermore, Lyft also states that “consistently low ratings can put you at risk of deactivation.” How low your rating has to go before Lyft will deactivate you isn’t clear (and not a game you want to play). In general, however, you should aim to keep your rating at 4.8 or higher (this is the number Lyft defines as a “good rating”).

5 Ways to Improve Your Lyft Driver Rating

Understand the Lyft Driver Rating System

What do you do if your rating is below 4.8 stars? The precise answer depends on your situation, since many factors can contribute to a low driver rating. However, here are five techniques that work in our experience.

1. Keep Your Car Clean

No one wants to ride in a dirty, smelly car. You don’t have to detail your car every day or vacuum it after every ride, but you should do your utmost to make it pleasant to ride in. Air fresheners are always a nice touch (though stick with inoffensive scents such as “new car” to be safe). You should also get regular car washes and keep the car free of crumbs, dust, hair, dirt, and other debris.

Furthermore, your car should be free of clutter. Don’t forget to keep your trunk clean and open, as some passengers may be traveling with groceries, luggage, or other items that can’t fit in the seat with them. Also, be sure to keep your passenger seat clear; some riders prefer the front seat, especially those who may suffer from motion sickness issues.

2. Always Drive Carefully

We hope that you always stop completely at stop signs, change lanes gradually, and slow down for bumps. But even if these aren’t your normal behaviors, you should make sure to do them when you’re transporting passengers. Even if you aren’t actually being an unsafe driver, giving passengers the impression that you’re unsafe is just as bad from a ratings and reviews perspective.

3. Be Polite and Friendly

Driving for Lyft can be exhausting some days, especially if you’re driving in the mornings or evenings before or after work. But you should try to be as friendly as you can to passengers and always be polite. We’re not saying you have to make friends with every passenger you transport; some passengers just want to relax in silence.

But attempt to make a bit of conversation if you can. If you pick a passenger up at the airport, ask if they’re looking for recommendations of things to do while they’re in town. If the passenger comes out of a cool bar, ask them if they’d recommend it. Don’t force the conversation, but don’t be afraid to talk to your riders — most of them will appreciate the gesture.

4. Offer Amenities for Passengers

A Lyft ride is not a limousine, and passengers know this. They’re not expecting bottles of champagne or heated seats. But small amenities can go a long way to making a passenger feel special and cared for. Here are some easy, cheap amenities you can include in your ride:

  • Both iPhone and Android phone chargers
  • An aux. cord to play your passenger’s music
  • Mints, gum, or candy
  • Bottled water
  • Guidebooks or city maps (you can usually get these for free at your local tourist bureau)
  • Holiday-themed items (if driving on a holiday)

There’s no need to include all of these, but just having a couple can make a huge difference in passenger experience. If we had to suggest just one, we’d recommend the phone chargers — passengers who are traveling or coming home from a night on the town especially appreciate this touch, as they’ve likely just left somewhere without a place to charge their phones.

5. Accommodate Reasonable Passenger Requests

Our final tip for boosting your Lyft driver rating is to accommodate passenger requests when you can. For instance, some passengers may prefer to listen to a particular radio station or even want to play their own music. Others may prefer to ride in silence.

You might get a rider to ask you to drive just a tad bit farther to drop them off at a specific building in their apartment complex. Or you might have one tell you to take a different route than what your GPS indicates (since sometimes GPS can have difficulty navigating in rural or suburban areas).

All of the above are requests that don’t ask you to do anything illegal, unsafe, or unreasonable. We recommend accommodating such requests if you can. Mind you, there may be legitimate reasons not to, and you should always use your best judgment. You certainly shouldn’t let passengers threaten, harass, or intimidate you into doing anything. Report any such actions to Lyft and make note of it in the rating you leave your passenger.

Lyft Driver Rating FAQ

To conclude, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Lyft driver ratings. We hope these will help you get a better understanding of the nuances of the Lyft driver rating system.

How do I check my Lyft driver rating?

There are a couple different ways to check your Lyft driver rating. The easiest way is to open up the Lyft app, tap on your profile picture, and then tap “View profile.” Your driver rating should be visible underneath your name.

In addition to this, you can also view your driver rating (and any feedback passengers leave you) in the driver summary that Lyft sends you via email each week. The purpose of this weekly feedback is to help you improve as a driver, so don’t take it personally. Of course, it is possible that the bad feedback is discriminatory or a form of personal attack; you can get instructions on how to deal with this below.

How does Lyft calculate driver ratings?

Lyft calculates your driver rating as the average of the ratings you’ve received for your last 100 rides (or however many rides you’ve given, if it’s less than 100). Note that the rating you’ll see under your profile in the Lyft driver app is rounded to the first decimal place. You’ll be able to see a more accurate rating (with two decimal places) when you receive your weekly driver summary.

What do I do if a passenger leaves an unfair rating?

While most passengers will be kind and constructive when leaving a rating, it is possible that a passenger will leave you a bad review out of discrimination or retaliation. While there’s no way to know if this is the case, you can let Lyft know if you think that a passenger may leave you a low rating for unfair reasons.

Here are the steps Lyft says you should take: “If you feel a passenger may rate you poorly due to something out of your control, use the comment box after the ride is over to tell us anything you feel is important about the ride or passenger.”

For more information on how to rate passengers, check out our guide to Lyft passenger ratings.

Can drivers see individual ratings left by passengers?

No, they cannot. Driver ratings and feedback are all anonymous. This is to protect both driver and riders from retaliation, as well as to keep the ratings as objective as possible. If you feel that a passenger is discriminating against you, you can always contact Lyft support for further help.

Do canceled rides affect your driver rating?

No, canceled rides do not affect your driver rating, since riders can only rate you after they have taken a ride. Canceling a ride does affect your acceptance rate, however.

How do driver ratings work for Lyft Line?

When transporting passengers for Lyft Line, driver ratings work just as they would with any other ride. Though multiple passengers are sharing the same ride, each has the chance to rate and tip you individually, just as they would with a regular Lyft ride.

Conclusion

We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of how the Lyft driver rating system works. Once you understand the basics of it, you can work to improve and maintain your Lyft driver rating. If you’re curious about how the rating system works for Uber, check out our guide to ratings for Uber passengers and Uber drivers.