How Driver and Passenger Ratings Work

Two-Way Rating System – Absolutely Necessary

Uber says that in order “to ensure the quality of both the driver partners and riders in the community, our rating system is a two-way street. Driver partners have the option to rate every completed trip, while riders have the opportunity to submit a rating along with comments.  Ratings, which are given on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, should be honest and reflective of the overall trip experience.”

It is therefore important to try to rate your passengers as accurately as you can.  The standards for rating are kind of arbitrary and each driver has his own methods, but if a passenger gives you trouble or messes up your car – don’t give them a 5-star rating!  Please!  Help future drivers know that there’s a problem before they accept a ping from these problem passengers.

How are Ratings Calculated?

From Uber’s website, we learn that, “your overall driver-partner rating is an average of individual ratings provided by riders from your 100 or fewer most recent trips. This rating is calculated by adding your individual trip ratings (from 1 to 5 stars) together, and then dividing this value by the total number of ratings you’ve received.

What’s not factored in the calculation:

  • Canceled trips
  • Unaccepted trip requests
  • Rides where the rider chose not to rate you”

Uber used to calculate ratings based on drivers’ last 500 rated trips.  The problem with this is it made it nearly impossible to improve your rating!  If you had a 4.6, it would take a tremendous number of perfect 5 star ratings to get that up to even a 4.7.  You’d pretty much have to get perfect 5s on almost all of your next 500 trips to do so.

By lowering the number to 100 they really helped drivers with low ratings get an advantage.  A full-time driver can whip out 100 trips within a week or two.  But it would take that same driver more than a month to crank out 500 trips.  So, if you have a low rating – just get to work, take a hundred rides over the next week and get perfect scores on all of them and you’ll be fine.

Another effect of lowering the number of trips that go into calculating the rating is that most driver’s ratings have skyrocketed!  It’s so easy to cancel out a low rated trip when you only have to drive 100 trips, that low ratings don’t hang around for long now.

When ratings were calculated on the last 500 trips, a 4.90 was considered a stellar – and almost impossible to reach rating.  But now, it’s so common that it almost doesn’t mean anything anymore.  Some drivers now have 5.0 ratings.  Because it is quite possible to get perfect scores on 100 trips.  While it’s next to impossible to do the same on 500 trips.  So, your 4.90 isn’t looking as good as it used to!

What Happens if Your Rating Falls Too Low?

Uber says, “if your rating approaches the minimum for your area, you’ll receive notifications and tips for how to improve it. If your average rating continues to fall below the minimum after multiple notifications, your account may be deactivated pursuant to the Community Guidelines. Deactivation is only used as a last resort and your account may be activated if you take certain steps to improve.”

Notice they say if your rating goes below the minimum, “for your area”.  There is no universal minimum rating.  Each city and area has its own minimum rating.  That’s because the minimum rating is based upon what the average rating is for a given area.  If on average drivers in your area have a 4.8 then they may set a minimum rating of 4.7.  If on the other hand the average driver in a particular area has a 4.7 – the minimum would probably be set at around 4.6.

4.6 tends to be the minimum that we see in most places – so that’s a pretty good rule of thumb.  You want to stay as far above 4.6 as you can.  But it might be higher or lower in your area.  The best way to find out is to contact your local Uber office or send a message through the Uber app and ask.

Drivers are asked to Give an Honest Rating of their Riders

Uber says, “the two-way rating system ensures that riders are also held accountable for their behavior. If you felt that your experience with a rider was less than ideal, you can give that rider a low star rating. For example, you may do so if a rider was disrespectful or made you feel unsafe. All ratings are anonymous.”

It’s really important to leave an honest rating for your passengers.  If you get a really bad passenger, you won’t help future drivers if you give them 5 stars.

Also, one thing should be mentioned here.  Uber will not kick passengers off the system for having a low rating.  I picked up a passenger once who had a 3.0 rating.  And he was creepy and scary.  I wished I hadn’t picked him up at all.  I even became angry that Uber left him on the system.  He was indeed quite dangerous and should have been kicked off a long time ago.  In my opinion Uber a Lyft should kick off any passenger who has anything less than 4.0.  But they don’t.  So it is up to you, the driver, to decline trips from passengers with such low ratings.  Seriously… if you see a 3. anything or lower, do not accept that call.  It could very well put you in some danger if you do.

Ratings can be Demoralizing

One low rating, especially an unfair one can demoralize drivers.  But you shouldn’t let it.  That’s because every driver will get unfair low ratings from time to time.  You’ll get low ratings that weren’t your fault.  You’ll get low ratings because the passenger was drunk and angry.  All kinds of things can lead to unfair low ratings.  But don’t let it bother you.  Here’s why.

What You’ll be Rated On

If you’re going to drive for Uber and/or Lyft and you’ve never taken a ride with them, Sam recommends first and foremost that you should take several rides – before you start driving.  So you can really learn what it’s like from the passenger’s point of view.  Only by having sat in the passenger’s seat will you be able to understand why passengers like and dislike what they do.

Passengers can rate you based on any criteria they set for themselves.  But they typically consider several factors that all go into your final rating.  The most common things they consider are:

  • Navigation
  • Vehicle Cleanliness
  • Driver safety
  • Driver friendliness

Those are the primary things most passengers take into consideration.  So, always take the best route – or at least what the passenger believes is the best route.  In other words, if the passenger asks you to go a certain way – don’t even hesitate – just go that way.  They’re paying for the time and distance, so it really shouldn’t matter to you as the driver which way they want to go.  If they naively choose a longer way – then take it and appreciate the fact that you’ll be getting a longer trip!

Video Transcription:

Ratings. All right, in this video, we’re going to talk about ratings, the two-way rating system. This is something that is very controversial, something that people gripe about, but something that is absolutely necessary.

I have not considered other alternatives but just ways to make it better. And at the time of this recording, they’re improving it.

And so, ratings, what is it? So, basically, any time you take a ride as a passenger, and hopefully you’ve done that because that’s one of the things you want to do if you want to improve as a driver, take rides and see what you like or don’t like, and so forth.

But when you take a ride, at the end of it, you can rate your driver, one to five stars, rate them. Did you like them? Were they excellent? Were they poor?

In the past, you could give reasons why you rated them one way. You can give them a compliment, you can write a note, or you can write, you know, a negative note.

Now, something Uber has changed recently is that you can actually…anytime you have to give a lower rating, you have to give a reason why. You have to give some sort of reason why, and there’s a handful of buttons you can press that are pre-set, whether it’s cleanliness, or maybe there were navigation issues.

Which is really, really helpful because in the past, sometimes you would get randomly low ratings and you have no idea why.

And for me, personally, I had a perfect five-star rating for the longest time, and randomly I got a one star out of nowhere. And I’m almost positive it was a drunk person accidentally clicking it, because the day that I got that, that whole night was flawless.

It was really, really good. And I memorize all my rides. I forget them, obviously, after a few weeks. But at least within 24 hours, I could replay the whole routes of all the people and all the things that happened, and I know that was a mistake.

And so, that really demoralizes and de-incentivizes drivers from doing a great job when you’re going to get something random like that. So this is a huge innovation that’s been something that people have suggested for a while. So that’s really great. So, that’s one.

So these ratings are really, really important, and let me show you how it works. They just changed this, so this isn’t updated, but your rating is an average of the 100 most recent trips.

Okay, they just changed it, which is really, really great. And this is really helpful because, over time, after your sample size gets bigger, you can get a good idea what kind of driver is this person.

And over time, if you get lower between 4.3 to 4.6, you’re gonna have to either improve or you’re at risk of deactivation, which is good and right. If you are hovering around 4.3, 4.6, get off the platform.

Related: The Actual Reason Your Uber Account was Deactivated

And I mean that with all the love in my heart. I don’t want you doing this. This is not for you, or you need to take this course and get better. Because 4.6 is horrible, which is the average in the Twin Cities for Uber.

I suspect it’s going to go up for everybody with this new implementation where people have to give reasons when they do low ratings, but even then, I would say that if you’re not around 4.9, something’s wrong. Okay? A 4.8, minimum, is what I would encourage.

Because there are a lot of bad drivers, and it does not take much to impress because the bar is so low. So if you’re not getting around 4.8 or higher, especially for Lyft and Uber, man, something’s off, and please take the Six Star Service course.

So this is how it works. This is a good system to help vet out bad drivers. What’s bad about it is a lot of drivers were never given training. That’s why I made this course.

And because they weren’t given training, they have to be…it’s either sink or swim. And so, the good drivers who are creative enough, who are smart enough, or tenacious enough or who persevere, they’ll stick around and they’ll eventually increase their ratings even after they make mistakes, and those who don’t will be deactivated.

I think what would be better is more training in the beginning so that you won’t have this whole vetting process that’s so intense, where a lot of bad drivers will be bad for a while before they get taken off the platform. Because notice this.

You get 25 trips where there’s kind of like a grace period, okay, and even the first couple of months aren’t even counted. So that’s how it works on this side.

The other part of it is that we rate passengers when they get off. And this is something tricky because some passengers don’t even know they get rated, and others do. It’s important to know this is important too because if someone is a jerk and constantly abuses the system, we want them off.

We want them off the platform too. We want to warn them and we want to kick them off.

And so, if you have a bad passenger, please rate them lower, so that other drivers can know to avoid them. I do not take drivers, for the most part…unless it’s a rare circumstance, I do not take passengers if they have a low rating.

What’s a low rating? That’s tough, and that’s arbitrary, and I flop back and forth. But overall, when I see someone under 4.7, I’m going to start being a little…I’m going to have some flags.

And unless it’s a nice pick up where it’s nearby or some other factor, I’m usually going to skip on them, unless it’s not very busy and I need to take what I can get. So that’s what I do. But it’s important to start vetting these people out because we want to maximize our earnings, and we want to know where people are.

But one thing to consider is that you can always change your rating for the person later. So let’s say you give the person a five-star rating, and then, later on, you find out that they trashed the back of your car. You can contact Uber, and they’ll actually change their rating. So that’s a really good thing to know.

Ratings are anonymous but you can figure things out by kind of thinking when they rate and when you’d see it. So I check often, and so I can kinda get a feel for what people…who rated me what.

It’s a good system. It’s getting better, but it’s good. And if you start seeing that your rating starts falling low, I would really encourage you to do some soul searching or some…check yourself.

I see a lot of people on Facebook arguing and complaining, saying, “Oh it’s them,” and other people saying, “Oh, don’t worry about them. They’re just being picky or they…” No. No.

Why do I have almost a perfect five-star rating? I have a 4.99 rating in Lyft. Why? Just because I happen to have all the nice people? No, no, no. Your service can make all the difference.

Even if you have a crappy passenger who has [a] horrible attitude, you can redeem it, and they can give you a high rating and a big tip if you can serve them well and show that you’re not like any other driver.

So that’s what I preach, that’s what I try to practice, not perfectly of course, but that’s what I do. So that’s how ratings work. Ratings are a necessary evil, and they’re constantly getting better.

So, welcome to the world of ratings. Don’t be overly hurt when you get a low rating. It happens. Sometimes you can’t help it. But over time, with a larger sample size, like 100 rides, it will properly reflect you.

Maybe a few rides are going to bad here and there, but over 100, if you don’t have a high rating, something’s wrong with you. I’m just going to say that very bluntly, with love, and grace, but something is wrong with your driving. And if over 100 you have a really high rating, you’re a stellar, elite driver.

So that’s the video on ratings, and keep up with all the updates because they’re going to constantly be changing. But this is a good thing that hopefully is going to continue to improve.


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