Everything Riders Need to Know About Lyft Ratings

If you’ve ever opened Lyft and requested a ride, you’ve probably looked at your profile and wondered how to improve your rating. After all, this short string of numbers is the lifeblood of the service, and will affect how a driver treats you more than you probably realize.

In this article I’m going to touch on everything you need to know about Lyft passenger ratings, and provide actionable tips to help you increase your rating and keep it there.

Contents:


How Can I See My Lyft Passenger Rating?

For some reason Lyft has decided its best to only let 5-star passengers know their rating.  There is nowhere customers can see their rating in the Lyft app.  When a Lyft passenger gets a five star rating form a driver, Lyft sends them an email and notifies them through the app to congratulate them on getting a perfect rating.  However, if a passenger gets 1-4 stars, they receive no notice.

It’s an odd way to handle ratings because you’d think the passengers who get lower ratings should be notified of it so they can do something about it on future trips.

As of now, the only way to find out your rating is to either ask your next Lyft driver or send a message to Lyft and ask them.  They both will answer and tell you, if you ask.  Drivers see passenger ratings when a call comes in.  They may not remember what your rating is by the time you get in the car, but they can do a couple of taps and see it.  So, you can always ask them.

Why Doesn’t Lyft Show Me My Passenger Rating?

We don’t know!  It’s a mystery.  They should.  There’s no better way to remind passengers that they’re being rated and that their behavior matters than to show them their rating every time they open the app.

Before 2015, Lyft didn’t show passengers their ratings at all.  In mid-2015 they had the brilliant idea of sending an email to riders whenever they got a 5-star rating from their driver to inform them of their stellar performance – as they sat quietly and politely in the back seat!  As nice as it is for the 5-star riders, it doesn’t do much for those who get low ratings.  They have no way of knowing they need to improve.

It’s not 5-star passengers who need to improve, it’s those with less than 5 stars.  So, why they would notify 5-star passengers who need no improvement, but not notify passengers with four or less stars who do need improvement, is beyond us.

Today Lyft is still using this method.  No changes have been made so far, even though Uber started showing passengers their ratings right on the app, about a year ago.

Why Would I Even Care About My Lyft Rating?

“I’m the customer, so why should I care what my rating is?  I’m paying so they have to provide me service”.  That’s the sentiment some passengers express.  But passengers should care, because drivers don’t, in fact, have to provide service to any passenger.  All drivers have the right to ignore any call from a passenger, for any reason. And they do most definitely let calls from passengers with low ratings pass.

For this reason, your passenger rating is actually very important.  When you put in a call for a Lyft, the call is routed to the nearest driver.  When the driver receives your call, he immediately sees your first name and your passenger rating.  If he deems your passenger rating too low, he will simply refuse to accept your call.

Then, your call will be sent to the next nearest driver.  If he also deems your rating too low, your call will then be sent to a driver even farther away.  And while your call searches around for a driver willing to accept you, you can sometimes wait up to three to five minutes just for someone to respond.

When a driver finally accepts he’ll be farther away than the first driver was and it will take him longer to get to you.  If you show any exasperation or frustration with this driver, or if you have any anger towards him for taking so long to get to you – he will see that and then he too will give you a low rating – which will make your experience even worse next time.

If being a decent and kind person isn’t enough reason, then this is another reason why passengers should care about their ratings.

What Factors do Lyft Drivers Look at When They Rate Me?

Drivers look at a variety of factors.  The main two though are your friendliness and your promptness.  Drivers hate being made to wait.  That’s because they make so little per hour that any lost time means even less earnings in their pockets.  They don’t get paid to wait.  Lyft says they start getting paid after two minutes of waiting, but what they get paid is literally peanuts.  It’s many times less than ten cents per minute.  So they are losing money while they wait – even if Lyft wants you to believe they’re being well compensated for wait time.

Here are the top reasons a driver might give you a bad rating::

  • Being Drunk / Drinking / Smoking / Vaping
  • Tipping
  • Promptness
  • Location
  • Friendliness and respect
  • Cleanliness
  • Throwing up!
  • Bringing a child without a car seat
  • Long travel time to your pickup location when you’re going on a short trip
  • Bringing more people than are legally allowed to travel in the car


How Can I Improve My Lyft Rating?

If your rating is really low, say anything below 4.4, then you really need to work to get it back up.

The first step to improving your rating is to understand the things that can cause them to go down.  Once you know the causes, as outlined above, the cure is pretty easy.  Just pay attention to these factors and work to improve your performance on them.

To improve your ratings though, you’re going to have to work like an athlete.  You’re going to have to pay attention to every little detail and you’re going to have to do things that a person with an above-average rating would never have to do.

You must also keep in mind that as a rider, you don’t have as many chances to improve your rating as drivers do.  Drivers can do 10-20 trips in a single day.  It might take some passengers six months or even a year to do 20 trips.  So a single 1-star rating can blow it for you for a very long time!  A passenger who is a heavy user of Lyft might do 20 trips in a month, but even with that it will still take a while to wipe out of effects of a 1-star rating.

So, here are a few things you must do if your rating is low.  And they are also things you should do if you have a decent rating to keep your rating decent:

Drunkenness

Drivers despise sloppy drunk passengers. This presents a bit of a conundrum in the rideshare experience, because people are urged to take a rideshare car when they’re drunk!  But being drunk probably leads to more low ratings than any other thing.

The best thing to do is just wait a while before calling for a car. If you’re sloppy drunk, but you can sit in the back seat of a car and keep your mouth shut – then your inebriation will most likely have no effect whatsoever on your rating.

However, if you’re the kind of drunk who just can’t keep their mouth shut, you’re going to be in trouble when it comes to rating time! Especially if your loud mouth causes you to insult the driver, treat him or her with any disrespect or, if it causes you to start making all kinds of demands of your driver.

For instance, if you demand that he turn on the radio to a certain station – this is not going to work out well for you in the end.  Or, if you demand that he turns the volume way up – this is not going to help you with your ratings at all.

Another thing that drivers find super annoying is when passengers ask if they have an aux cord.  That means the passenger is going to plug their own music into the driver’s sound system.  This will most likely be music the driver hates and the passenger will most likely ask for him to play it way too loud.  The combination of music you hate, turned up loud is enough to make a lot of drivers give you a 1-star rating at the end of the trip.

This drunk Lyft passenger will definitely be getting 1-star!  Don’t let the alcohol ruin your ratings.  (The driver could have handled this in a much better way that wouldn’t have escalated the situation – mainly by just keeping quiet – but the drunk passenger was still way out of line).

Cash Tipping

A cash tip will pretty much wipe out all previous wrongs. If you made your driver wait five minutes but left a generous $7 tip, he will forgive you and happily give you 5 stars.

The reason we say you should leave a cash tip is because if you tip through the app the driver won’t know that you tipped until long after he rates you.  He has to rate you right after he ends your trip.

If he doesn’t rate you, he can’t accept anymore trips.  So, in order to keep working, he has to rate you before he can move onto the next passenger. Only by leaving a cash tip, will he know for sure that you tipped before he rates you.

Whatever you do – never promise to tip him through the app.  Drivers have seen this promise broken far too many times and now anyone who makes it will get an almost certain four stars instead of five.

For more on this, and how much to tip your driver, check out our Lyft Tipping Guide for Passengers.

Promptness

Making your driver wait more than about one minute might get you a ding. I know it sounds unbelievable that you have so little time to show up – but many drivers are very impatient.

That’s because they’re paid so little that they’re pretty desperate to have a passenger in their car for as many minutes as possible each hour.  Every minute with no passenger in the car is a minute the driver isn’t getting paid.

If you’re really desperate to improve your ratings – don’t call a Lyft until you’re ready to go.  At this point it would be better for you to wait a few minutes than to make your driver wait even a minute.

Be outside and ready to go as soon as he pulls up.  This isn’t something you’d normally have to do if you had good ratings.  But if your rating is low and you really need to bring it up – always be outside and ready to go before the driver shows up.

Location

Being in the location where you told the app you are – is hugely important. Drivers hate having to look around for riders.  It wastes a lot of their time and is therefore a source of endless frustration for them.  This can easily lead to a ding to your rating.

Always keep in mind that drivers don’t get paid a thing until the passenger is in the car.  While they’re driving around looking for you, they’re basically off the clock.  That’s dead time for them – so don’t make it last any longer than it has to.

Also, remember that you are responsible for where the app tells the driver you are.  When you go online to order a car, the app will place the pin at the location the GPS tells it you are.  But, you have to check this to make sure the GPS on your phone got it right.

Sometimes it can be a few doors off.  And sometimes it can be more than a block off.  You are responsible for checking to make sure the correct address is entered into the app.

When your ratings are already low, you can’t afford to keep blaming the app for things that cost drivers money – like having him show up at the wrong location.  That will cost you big in rating points.

  • Friendliness & Respect – Friendliness can make up for a lot of other faults. If you made your driver wait for 3-5 minutes, profusely apologize when you get in the car and show him a little respect by letting him or her know that you realize it was your fault that they weren’t making any money during that time.  Just that gesture can go a long ways in minimizing the potential for a lower rating.Also, remember a little respect goes a long ways.  Let them know in your own way that you have a lot of respect for what they do.  The long hours they put in, the hard work – whatever it is – let them know you appreciate it.  That will do wonders for your rating.
  • Cleanliness – Always keep in mind that your drivers car is most likely his personal car. Unlike most taxi drivers, most Lyft drivers drive their own personal cars for this job.  So, if you get in eating a bag of potato chips and he has any suspicion at all that a few crumbs might drop on his seats or floor, he will definitely ding you a point or more on your rating.  If you are desperate to improve your rating, never eat food in the car.
  • Throwing Up – This is last on our list, not because it’s least important – but because it just doesn’t happen all that often. If it does happen, then it is maximum important!  If you do throw up in a driver’s car, just know that it is a guaranteed 1-star rating.  So, don’t do it!  And if you feel it coming, let the driver know so he can pull over.  He’ll appreciate you if it all lands on the street rather than his back seat.  But better still – just wait an hour or so until you’re feeling better before you call the car.