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Uber Driver Ratings: What You Can Learn From Drivers With Low Ratings

By: // Updated: August 14, 2020

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When a passenger requests a ride on Uber and is connected with a driver, the driver’s star rating is displayed. This star rating is an average rating of the reviews given by passengers. If a driver has a poor rating, passengers may be tempted to cancel the ride and schedule one with another driver.

Thus, a high rating can impact your earning potential directly. Not only will Uber riders be more willing to keep their ride, but they may be more inclined to tip as well.

In this article, we’ll outline everything rideshare drivers need to know about Uber driver ratings. We’ll go over things such as how the rating system works and what it means for the driver. We’ll provide you with the information you need to acquire a good rating and start earning more income.


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Uber Driving Ratings — the Basics

The Uber rating system is a two-way system, allowing both riders and drivers to evaluate one another. Just like you have the chance to rate a rider after completing a ride, the rider also has the opportunity to give you a 1- to 5-star rating.

Ratings are completely anonymous. There’s no way to connect a bad rating to a particular individual or trip. Uber’s rating system provides an average driver rating from your last 500 rides. So, if you generally receive five-star ratings and happen to mix in a few lower ratings, your overall score should still be respectable.

What Ratings Mean for Drivers

Low ratings can have a severe impact on a driver’s career. That’s because if the rating drops below 4.6, the driver becomes at risk of deactivation. A majority of Uber’s drivers have a rating between 4.7 and 4.8. According to Uber, only 2-3% of drivers risk falling below the threshold of a 4.6 rating.

As a driver, you’ll receive a newsletter each week from the company. You’ll see your score in this email. If your score has been creeping lower, you’ll receive a warning in this newsletter letting you know that your score was below average. If you do not receive better ratings, Uber may remove your driving privileges.

If you have higher ratings, you’re more likely to earn more on the app. Passengers are more likely to keep, and not cancel, a ride if it’s with a well-rated driver. Customers have the right to cancel a trip before the pickup.

Additionally, some of the things that you can do to help earn a five-star rating will also impress customers, potentially encouraging them to leave a greater tip.

Highly rated drivers will also receive perks and benefits, such as access to better rides. The more rides you accumulate, the more points you earn, which will then put you in various rewards tiers. A higher rating earns you more points and improves your rewards standing more quickly.

In New York, for example, you must have a rating of at least 4.8 to drive for the company’s black car service. If your rating is below this, you are limited to providing UberX services.

If you’re interested in climbing up the ranks with Uber and earning more opportunities, be mindful that every ride can play a role in your career. Seek to provide every customer with the best experience possible.

How Riders Leave Ratings

After you drop off a rider, the person will receive a notification in the Uber app asking them to leave a review. If a rider gives you a 4-star rating or below, the app prompts the person to give more feedback about the ride.

Note that this process is also the same for you. You can give a passenger rating after you drop off a rider. You will receive a notification in the driver app asking you to leave a review. If you leave less than a 4-star rating, you’re asked to give more details about the trip.

When leaving the review, both you and the passenger can choose from a list of pre-populated responses such as “Friendly Driver” or “Great Conversation.”

You won’t receive notification that the passenger completed a review. However, you can see the following by opening the driver app:

  • ​Your current rating
  • The compliments you’ve received from passengers
  • Any feedback the passenger has

You can find this information in your driver profile. On the top left-hand corner of the Driver app, three lines make up the menu icon. Click these. Then, tap the profile picture that appears. From there, your passenger rating info will be revealed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still looking to learn more about Uber driver ratings? Consider some of these most frequently asked questions that drivers want to know.

How can I improve my overall rating?

One of the best things that you can do to improve your overall rating is to make the ride more enjoyable for your passenger. Consider providing things such as bottled water, chewing gum, mints, and phone chargers. Also, make sure that your car is tidy. Remember that these things are expenses that you can deduct from your taxes.

Other courtesies that you could provide include opening the door for customers and carrying their bags. While these things are not required, they are little things that can stand out to your riders. Try experimenting with different techniques to find out what works for you and your riders.

Does Uber consider every ride?

No, Uber does not necessarily consider every passenger review in its ratings system. If a customer review mentions things that are out of your control, Uber will not count the review against you.

For instance, if a rider gives you a poor review because you were speeding, you’re out of luck. But if you receive a subpar rating because of traffic, Uber will not count it against you.

Why does my average fluctuate so much when I first start driving?

The more data points that Uber has, the more consistent and accurate your average. For instance, let’s say that you earn a three-star review after driving for the first time. You’re not going to be kicked off the app immediately. After your next trip, you earn a five-star rating. Now, your average spikes to four stars. As time goes on, your rating will stabilize.

What are the criteria for rating a rider?

As mentioned, riders rate you based on things such as how you drive. Obviously, you can’t rate a rider on the same criteria. As a driver, you’re free to consider whatever you’d like when rating a driver.

But, you may want to consider things such as whether the rider kept you waiting for more than five minutes, whether he or she left your back seat clean, and whether you felt at all unsafe or threatened during the ride.

Ridester’s Take On Uber Driver Ratings

Are you tired of hearing passengers complaining about the quality of UberX going downhill?

When you drive for Uber’s Black/Premium luxury car service, you hear a lot of Uber riders talk about how they used to take UberX, but have since moved to Black/Premium because the quality of their Uber experience has declined as Uber has continued to lower their prices.

After thinking about it, though, I came to one big conclusion: The drivers who need help with their ratings are the last people to know about it.

At the end of this article, I have two pieces of advice to improve your rating that I bet you’ll never read anywhere else, which apply no matter where you drive.

I’ve talked to many Uber drivers who have had poor ratings, and it seems like they all told me it wasn’t their fault. They blame it on the driver rating system, which they swear is rigged. No matter how many times I’ve told them it’s fair because every driver is under the exact same system, playing by the exact same rules, they still say it’s unfair!

So me being me, what did I do? I asked a few of these rideshare drivers if I could take a quick ride with them just to see if I could spot anything wrong and give them some advice for getting better ratings.

Here’s what I found…

Hitting the Streets With Real Drivers

Uber Driver Ratings: What You Can Learn From Drivers With Low Ratings

Driver #1: Smelly Car

The first guy who took me for a ride had an old, moderately beat-up car with cloth seats. I could see where passengers might rate him with 4 stars, just on account of his car. But I also know passengers have gotten used to that kind of car, so maybe it’s not a big factor.

The problem was, there was a moldy odor in his car, one that he obviously didn’t smell anymore, but it was the kind of odor that just made you want to get out of the car as quickly as possible.

He would easily get more 4-star ratings than normal just because of the odor. But the smell combined with the condition of his car made it a certainty that he would get more less-than-five-star ratings than he should.

Driver #2: Bad Driving Habits

The next driver who let me ride with him was a very nice guy, cleanly dressed, decent car, but he had an annoying habit of not slowing down for stops until the very last minute. He would slam on the brakes just before the intersection!

I told him that could cause passengers to downrate him because they feel unsafe.

He said, “What’s that?”

I said, “The way you slam on the brakes just before a stop!”

He looked at me confused and said, “I slam on the brakes?”

“YES!” I said. He said he didn’t realize he was doing that!

Driver #3: Smoker

The third guy I rode with was very friendly, had a welcoming smile, but he wasn’t cleanly dressed, and although his car was nice and clean, he smelled like smoke! And his car had a faint smoky odor.

When I mentioned it to him, he was absolutely clueless about it.

He said, “I smoke, but I do it outside the car and I never let the smoke go into the car.”

I sat down with him and told him the story of what happened when I stopped smoking. I suddenly realized the smoky odor sticks to everything it touches as it wafts by. It gets on your clothes and you can smell it in your closet the next day.

But when you smoke, you don’t notice it at all. You think you’re odor-free, but anyone within 15 feet of you who doesn’t smoke can smell you coming!

The Impact of What I Found

I rode with three drivers, they each had obvious problems and all of them were completely oblivious to what their problems were. Once I pointed them out, however, they immediately saw my point. But that’s not always the case. Some drivers want to argue with you and tell you that you’re wrong – even though they have a much lower rating than you!

In New York, you have to have a rating of at least 4.80 to drive for Uber’s black car service. One UberX driver I knew desperately wanted to drive a Black car so he could make more, but his rating was 4.68. I told him it would be nearly impossible to get that up to 4.80 anytime in the foreseeable future.

That’s a huge deficit and he would have to get several hundred 5 stars in a row to bring it up to 4.80. But, he told me he was working at it and he was determined to do it. So, I offered my advice, which was that he should dress better. This guy looked like a bum. He was super nice, very warm, and friendly, but he dressed like a slob who had lost the will to live!

He told me, “Oh, no, no, no! It’s not my clothes. I’ve always worn these clothes and my rating was 4.75 a few months ago.” Then he added, “People don’t really care what you wear as long as you’re nice and drive well.”

This is one of those things people say and you just shake your head and give up. I will just say this, clothes do matter. In fact, everything matters!

Related: Uber Account Disabled: Surprising Things That Could Get You Deactivated

Accepting Low Ratings

For most drivers, including myself, it comes as a bit of shock when you get your first rating that’s less than 5 stars! We agonize over it.

“What could I possibly have done wrong?”

“Which passenger was it who didn’t give me 5 stars?”

It’s jarring when you get your first less-than-five-star rating, especially if you’re a new driver.

So, I’ll let you in on a little secret… nobody gets 5 stars all the time. There is always somebody who will think your service is not worth 5 stars. The big question, though, is can it be unfair?

At times, yes. But over time, no!

That’s because over time everyone will get the rating they deserve. And the reason is that the people rating you don’t know each other. They didn’t conspire together to bring you down. And they have no way to influence how any other passenger will rate you.

In the end, you are the only one who can exercise some influence on every passenger to give you a good rating. That means that over time after a few hundred ratings have come in, your driver rating is the result of what you have done. Therefore, your final rating reflects YOU!

The Fairness of Uber’s Rating System

We all know that sometimes people will accidentally hit 4 stars when they thought everything about you was perfectly fine, and they really should have given you a 5-star trip rating. Furthermore, sometimes people will have a bad experience with other passengers in an UberPOOL ride and take their frustration out on you with a 1-star rating.

But the percentage of overall ratings that passengers give that are a little lower than they should have been is the same for all drivers. And since, every driver is measured on the same scale, and under the same conditions, it is fair.

If all drivers in a given area have 4-star ratings at least 3 percent of the time, then Uber doesn’t care about the first 3 percent of your 4-star ratings. It’s the difference between you and other drivers that they care about.

It’s the drivers who get 4-star ratings 6 percent of the time that they start to notice. It’s the difference in results between you and all other drivers that makes all the difference, not one individual rating.

In New York, a driver who has a 4.80 rating is considered very good because most New York drivers have something less than that. But in another city, a 4.80 might not be considered good at all. If the average rating in that city is 4.85 or above, then a 4.80 would be considered on the low side of average.

How to Improve Your Uber Driver Rating

Ready for those two pieces of advice you’ll never read anywhere else?

There are thousands of articles online that will give you the standard advice, like offer water to your passengers, add a tipping sign, keep your car clean, and drive safely. That’s the standard advice. And all of that is good.

But here are my best two pieces of advice that apply no matter where you drive:

#1: Dress Like Your Most Upscale Passengers

My first piece of advice is to dress as much like your most upscale passengers as you possibly can. For instance, I work in Manhattan, which is commerce central. It’s all about business, serious business. The people here dress very professionally. Guys wear suits and ties, so I do too.

I don’t dress up as much as they do – because I don’t work in an office – I basically drive a cab! So they don’t expect you to be wearing a jacket and a tie. But when they see my clothes, which are basically the same as they’d wear on a casual Friday, they immediately feel comfortable with me.

And I think that does wonders for my Uber rating (which is 4.90 and is in the top one half of one percent of all 50,000 New York City drivers).

#2: Talk Like Your Most Upscale Passengers

My final piece of advice is about your speech.

You should try to talk as much like your most upscale passengers as possible. If your most upscale riders speak with good grammar, then learn to speak with good grammar if you don’t already. If they don’t speak with perfect grammar, then you shouldn’t either! Imitate their speech.

There is nothing that makes a rider feel more comfortable than to be with a driver who sounds like them and dresses like them. Just doing those two things alone will do wonders for your Uber driver rating.

Do the other stuff too, obviously! Drive safely, keep your car clean, be polite and friendly – and then add these two last things to that – and you’ll be able to avoid bad ratings.

Curious how you can boost your Lyft driver rating? Check out our guide.

Uber Driver Ratings Are Rather Influential

Make sure you are mindful of your Uber driver rating. If your rating falls below 4.6, the company will consider deactivating your account. You certainly can’t be shuttling passengers around if you have a 1-star rating.

You should be doing what you can to satisfy passengers and improve your rating. Not only will a good rating ensure that you stay on the road making money as a rideshare driver, but it can also gain you access to other perks.

If you don’t drive exclusively for Uber, be sure to also check out our guide to the Lyft Driver rating system.

8 thoughts on “Uber Driver Ratings: What You Can Learn From Drivers With Low Ratings”

  1. How about this? I got 1’d last week from a guy that was either insane or on drugs. Got into my car and within a block started yelling that I was kidnapping him. Stopped the car and offered to let him out. He opened the door and put one foot out but stayed seated and yelled that I was holding him against his will. I told him to get out, he refused. Long story short, I had to call the police to escort him away. Yet, his 1 star rating still counts.

    Got 1’d last night because the app didn’t accurately reflect my location while enroute to riders location. Have also been 1’d for not allowing a rider to bring their open alcoholic beverage along. Got a 2 from another rider last month who insisted I take a particular route instead of what the app said, then complained about the route taken.

    I defy the author to explain the fairness in any of these.

    Reply
  2. Thats another issue; Humans see 5 as perfect, 4 as a solid rating, 3 as “M’eh….I got to my destination and I didn’t die”, 2 as “OK, but…are you kidding me ?”, and one as “Holy Sh1t, get this guy/gal off the road STAT !”…….However, Uber’s algo only sees 5* as “Keep him” and everything else as “Fire his @55!!”

    Reply
  3. “But the percentage of overall ratings that passengers give that are a
    little lower than they should have been is the same for all drivers. And
    since, every driver is measured on the same scale, and under the same
    conditions, it is fair.”
    Complete and utter BS. The one thing you ( purposefully ? ) left out is the prime variable; The pax. Are they already in a bad mood ? Are they already running massively late for work, etc ? Did they not get laid this weekend ? Etc, Etc, Etc…..I’ve been reported UTI for dodging potholes ( for the pax benefit ). I’ve been 1*’d for missing a turn in the boonies of some God forsaken town I’d never heard of in a state I’d never been anywhere near. I’ve been reported for professionalism for requiring seatbelts. 2&3*’d because the highways were gridlocked ( yes, it’s my fault you decided upon an interstate jaunt at noon on a Friday ). The rating system is a joke BECAUSE of the massive variations of pax perspectives and expectations. It’s ambiguous, subjective, anonymous ( BIG issue right there ), unaccountable, etc… the list goes on. The mere fact that it’s completely open to interpretation makes your assertions about it’s “fairness” a rather ridiculous joke. I can get ten 5*’s in a row and not see ANY movement in my overall rating. One single 1* and down it goes an entire point. If it’s so fair and even-handed then explain how I can get those ten 5*’s, tips, positive comments, badges, etc in a row and then suddenly a 1*. What, am I driving bi-polar ? Also, who decided that downrates shouldn’t require explanation ? Makes perfect sense that there should be this system that can and does directly impact my ability to earn but yet requires no meaningful data be attached to it. You know, so I maybe might actually address whatever the Hell the issue MIGHt have been as opposed to the current guessing game

    Reply
    • Ex. Got a 1* this AM because I braked and swerved due to some @55hat who swerved into and out of my lane. Of course, the pax had his nose buried in his phone and never caught that guy’s swerve. Only mine. Fair though I guess……

      Reply
  4. The main thing to remember though is that all ratings are relative. They’re relative to all other drivers in your area. So, if a lot of passengers in your area normally give out 4s, then it doesn’t matter that your rating is 4.2 because that will be considered a good rating in that area – relative to all other drivers.

    Reply
  5. Agree the rating is nonsense, it only creates fear. To have 5 stars rating all the time is quite suspicious. Nobody can be perfect all the time. For many riders 4 is as good as 5. And 3 is Ok. And it is so. I would trust a driver with solid 4-star rating more than somebody with 4.8. And the rating is not fair to all drivers. It does depend on what areas you drive, who you deal with. Like in your case…

    Reply
  6. Listen, I gave her a ride where she asked. It wasn’t where she told uber. I was new and thought it was ok. She got a minimum charge aand complained because she did do her original ride called not finishing her ride. I got no fee and she was able to give me one star. I owned a hair salon for 20 years and have a brand new car. I got another one star because she cancelled the ride and I sat until she ordered it again.. she told me uber already charged her. She said she would recall after she called her mom. She did a block from her destination and got a minimum charge and gave me one star and also complained about the price. I had 5 star average until then . Then one very sick gal,I asked to cough in her sleeve . Reprorted me for professionalisum. Naive but I do nothing wrong. Uber told me to cancel rides from scammers and shOuld have took the one home. Don’t tell me it’s my fault. In 20 years having a salon I got one complaint and that lady went to court to sue her cousin and shoot her cousin and lawyer dead. Tis now what we have medal dectors in mn courts

    Reply
  7. Listen, I gave her a ride where she asked. It wasn’t where she told uber. I was new and thought it was ok. She got a minimum charge aand complained because she did do her original ride called not finishing her ride. I got no fee and she was able to give me one star. I owned a hair salon for 20 years and have a brand new car. I got another one star because she cancelled the ride and I sat until she ordered it again.. she told me uber already charged her. She said she would recall after she called her mom. She did a block from her destination and got a minimum charge and gave me one star and also complained about the price. I had 5 star average until then . Then one very sick gal,I asked to cough in her sleeve . Reprorted me for professionalisum. Naive but I do nothing wrong. Uber told me to cancel rides from scammers and shOuld have took the one home. Don’t tell me it’s my fault. In 20 years having a salon I got one complaint and that lady went to court to sue her cousin and shoot her cousin and lawyer dead. Tis now what we have medal dectors in mn courts

    Reply

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