Ten Reasons You Scored Your Uber Driver Less Than 5 Stars In 2015

Over the past six months I have been inundated with emails from drivers desperate for tips on how to resurrect their woeful driver ratings. I hit the road this week to ask my passengers the top reasons they mark down their Uber driver. Most of the reasons are obvious, some a bit harsh and others downright bizarre.

Here are ten reasons passengers scored their driver less than five stars in 2015:


1. Bad body odour

It’s a forty degree day and you opt to take an Uber home instead of a crowded bus or train, only to be slapped in the face by the drivers horrendous body odour. When I was in high-school our year co-ordinator sat down all of the boys and gave us a lesson in the difference between anti-perspirant and deodorant. He stood in front of our grade and announced, in a very serious tone, “Nothing is quite as offensive as stale teenage sweat mixed with a generous lathering of Lynx Africa.” Come on drivers, sort it out!


2. Dirty car

You’re running late to an interview for your dream job so you order an Uber. Within seconds a friendly-faced driver is on his way to pick you up. The driver is wonderful and even helps you prepare for the interview. You thank him for his services and promise him a five star rating as you leave the car, that is, until you glance down at your freshly dry-cleaned blazer and suit-pants. They are absolutely covered in cat hair. No amount of rubbing, blowing and brushing makes a difference to the million miniscule hairs seemingly ingrained in the fabric. Keep it clean, Uber drivers! I suggest investing in a hand vacuum cleaner.


3. Not following directions

I can’t tell you how many passengers have recounted Uber horror stories where their driver simply refused to follow the map, which is part of the Uber app, or, completely ignored directions from the passenger. It is completely understandable if a driver makes a wrong turn or misses your street. What isn’t acceptable is getting hopelessly lost when there is a system in place to make sure you get from A to B as quickly as possible. If you don’t know, ask! If they don’t know, follow the map! Simples.


4. Refusing to go through drive-thru

A passenger earlier in the week told me a story about an Uber driver who refused to take

her through McDonald’s drive-thru at three in the morning after a night out on the town. She was outraged, “All I wanted was an effing cheeseburger meal and some nuggets! I needed them! I offered extra money and even offered to buy the driver a meal as well, but he still refused!”, she yelled at me, still visibly upset at missing out on her favourite drunk food. I’m with drunky on this. It would only take an extra five minutes and you’re being paid for it so what’s the problem? If you’re worried about crumbs in your car just tell the passenger they can’t eat until they get home.


5. To talk or not to talk

A passenger enters your car and sits directly behind you. Their face is buried so far in their iPhone screen you can almost read their latest text message on their forehead. Their first words are, “ Hi, did you get the address?”, asked in a very flat and serious tone. This is not the passenger to try and strike up a world class conversation with. For all we know they just got fired, or their partner dumped them or maybe, they just don’t want to talk today. That is fine. Get them to their destination safely and on time and you’re a shoe-in for a five star rating. If a passenger sits up front and greets you warmly before jumping into the classic Uber questions which usually start with, “So! What else do you do besides driver for Uber bro? Come onnnnnn! Uber drivers always have some other weird side gig. What’s the go?”, just humour them. Give them what they want. Regale them with your best Uber driver stories and you will be rewarded five-fold.


6. Proposals

“I think you are very pretty and I enjoyed driving you home and talking to you. Would you like to go to dinner tomorrow night?” I can’t believe it. Apparently a handful of Uber drivers out there fancy themselves as a contender for the next Bachelor. If you fall into this category, I beg you, please stop pretending your car is the Tinder app. Instead of a simple ‘swipe left’, next time you could end up with a slap across the face. Complimenting you on the cleanliness of your car or your driving prowess is not an invitation to make the final minutes of the trip excruciatingly awkward. Be professional. Treat this as a real job.


7. No Spotify

Alright, I think this could be a little harsh. A young guy I picked up from Enmore last week said it was an instant three stars if the driver didn’t have access to Spotify premium. “If I’m vibing to Courtney Barnett and want to continue the good vibes in the car and the driver can’t help me with that, like, it’s almost definitely three stars. Even if his chat is top-shelf he’s still getting a three!”, he remarked, before commandeering my stereo to blast Violent Soho’s latest single.


8. Attire

A pair of thongs, wife-beater singlet and King-Gee work-shorts are not acceptable attire for an Uber driver. Yes, I know, Uber drivers are just regular people who have converted their cars into taxis. Many passengers have remarked that ordering an Uber is, “just like getting a ride with a mate!” Still, I think a pair of enclosed shoes and a t-shirt should be minimum standards for a driver. Some passengers couldn’t care less, but I know a few are displeased if it feels like you’re not taking pride in the job.


9. No Room

Your flight leaves in an hour. You were supposed to be at the airport, well, right now! Your Uber just pulled up and you and your partner lug your bags to the Curb. The driver pops the boot and it’s full. An enormous subwoofer takes up half the boot space and the rest is taken up by miscellaneous items including a cricket bat, walking cane and a garden gnome. You don’t have time to order another Uber so you’re stuck nursing your luggage on the backseat. Your view for the entire ride is a suitcase. Two stars!


10. Desperation

“Can you please give me five stars?”, asked in a whiny, desperate voice is apparently a sure-fire way to guarantee yourself less than five stars. Even if your service was impeccable, asking for a perfect score seems to annoy most passengers. I’m unsure if this is a purely Australian quirk, to take someone down a peg, or if passengers in other parts of the world are equally incensed by this request. Ask, and you almost definitely will not receive.


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Comments

    I never give five stars for anything less than the exceptional. I reserve it for maybe the top 5-10%, the rest get four or fewer stars. It can cause annoyance on places like eBay and Amazon but that's just how it is, deal with it.

      Unfortunately that hurts the drivers because Uber sets the bar high for the average score. Drivers accounts are reviewed when their average score drops below 4.6.

      I can confirm what @andres is saying, my driver the other night was explaining how if they go below 4.5(ish) stars their account gets reviewed and/or suspended.

      Why does this not surprise me? Are you just a cranky 80 year old hermit who's only joy in life is being an insufferable prick?

        Doubtful, he can use a Smartphone. I've been trying to teach my mom to use a tablet. Tap the screen means hold your finger on it for 10 to 12 seconds.

      5 is the ONLY score Uber riders should give unless the driver is truly bad and then a 4. As an Uber driver if your score goes below 4.5 you are in trouble. Please understand this Uber riders, scores of 2 or 3 are really mean and only arseholes would give them out!

      If you cannot lift your finger to give a 5 stars (unless the driver did a great wrong onto you), go get a taxi if you are such a shit and ungrateful person. Do not cause misery to the decent Uber driver.

    I don't rate drivers 5 stars for a standard trip, I feel like 5 stars is for something above and beyond that they did. Maybe I'm wrong but it just feels weird to say every trip is perfect.

      Why not rate them 5 stars? You should start at 5 stars because this is how the Uber rating system works. Deduct points for things that go wrong / are bad rather than expecting limo level service at less than cost of a taxi.

        Because then what's the difference between standard service and something special? How do you rate then? The problem is with the way Uber counts their ratings not with reserving the highest score for the best trips! That being said, I'm not doing it to be a jerk, it's not clearly stated anywhere that 5 stars is the 'expected' rating for the average trip.

          You're not rating a fine wine, it's a f-ing taxi. If it's clean, the driver gets you there cheaply and quickly and isn't rude then that should be enough. Stop being so pretentious.

          I get what you are saying but your mindset doesn't match the reality of their scoring system. I am also not saying that their system is right.

          I think people need to put some perspective in to what they are getting. Private car door to door service for (normally) less than the cost of a taxi. I personally have only ever rated a driver less than 5 once and that was because his car was held together with duct tape. Every other experience has been way better than a taxi.

      You are certainly wrong. This is not a Hotel rating system, if the car is clean, he drives sensibly and you get to your destination on time 5 stars. You can take points off for him screaming insults at every driver on the road or farting constantly (Never happened to me).

        No I am not wrong, I simply value the rating differently than Uber does, and honestly, Uber's system makes no sense. What rating do I give the driver that does above and beyond the expected job? is there a 6th star option? If you set the baseline at 5 stars then how do you quantify those that are excellent? You can't. That's stupid. Why even have 5 stars? They should just have two, one star= bad, two stars= good.

          The system is completely ridiculous, no argument there. You are right that it shouldn't be 0 to 5 stars it should be Good or Bad.

          But you can't interrupt the system your way, Ubers systems works like this, 5 = Good. 4, 3, 2, 1 = Bad. There is a psychology behind this, that if something is rated 5 or 4.6 out of 5 than it's good, and you can be confident in what you get. If people where not confident with Uber, the entire system would fall down. And when you look at it Uber does next to nothing to earn money.

          The Driver signs up, does the work and provides the car, the clients pay the money and Uber take a cut for letting you meet the driver. Uber it's better than a Taxi for me, but it still feels like I'm participating in a Pyramid Scheme.

    If I scored 80% on an exam I'd be delighted.
    So, I'd routinely give drivers 4/5 as a way of saying 'awesome'. 5/5 only if they turn up in a time-travelling DeLorean.

    Only started giving 5/5's when I learned that drivers got a stern talking-to for 4-star averages.

      80% on an Exam, except to pass you need 92%. You wouldn't be delighted. Glad that you changed your system.

      Ditto. I was going by the way we are rated at work:
      5/5 - exceptional, promotion, payrise, etc.
      4/5 - really great job, better than expected, going above and beyond
      3/5 - doing your job as expected
      2/5 - need to pick up the slack or have a pretty good explanation
      1/5 - if things don't change pretty quickly you will be fired
      0/5 - goodbye.

      Therefore, most people got 3s and 4s. It wasn't until I found out about the Uber rating system that I made a swift change. Now everyone gets 5/5 unless they have done something wrong. I feel terrible about the 3s I gave, but I honestly didn't know!

    If a Uber Driver's average rating is at 4.6 or below, Uber's policy is to review the driver's account and possibly deactivate it.

    The system is pretty disjointed because Uber views 5 stars as "normal" and 4 stars as "below normal". So it's human nature to give something 3/5 or 4/5 if it isn't outstanding.

    If uber wants their drivers to hold a 4.6 then that's a boatload of 5/5's these drivers need.

    Never given anything less than a 5 yet. Was tempted to, once, when a fella turned up in a banged-up ute with no air-con and reeking of nicotine, but we had a good chat and he was a really nice guy, so whatever.

    Seems like the policy's been the same way around, too. Until about a month ago, after maybe a year using the service and around 90 trips, I was on a 5 star rating as a passenger. Not sure what got me bumped down to 4.9 that one time, but now that the damage is done, it's done.

    i think passengers need to pull their heads out the asses and realise they are fucking with peoples lives. its slightly better than a taxi. ease up on your harsh critiquing by being less selfish about what you "deserve".
    if you know uber drivers get canned with less than 4.6 score dont be harsh.
    if they arrive on time, are friendly and get you where you need to go - thats 5/5 for the service they have provided to you. if you want spotify, stick your fucking earbuds in. if you want maccas - call delivery boys. if you want a cock rub - do it yourself, at home, in your own privacy.
    the selfishness of people these days astounds me.

      I believe the article meant the Driver asked out the Customer not the other way around.

      While I don't think it's unreasonable to ask them to go through a drive thru for you, as long as you don't eat it in the car it should be fine. I will admit it's a double edged sword as that could leave the car smelling like takeaway for the next hour or so and could affect the next score.

      Spotify has got to be the most ridiculous reason ever to mark somebody down. Play with your own phone, don't expect a full on sound system.

      Did you maybe ever consider that people aren't doing it out of selfishness, spite and entitlement? How is a passenger supposed to know that drivers get canned with a score less than 4.6? Where is this stated? Is it in the app? do you get an email about it? How is this officially communicated by Uber?

      Could it possibly be that when given 5 options (stars) that people use a different scale than you or Uber would? 1= absolutely horrible 2= bad but not the worst, 3= average, 4=good, 5= better than just good, something special. As opposed to Uber who apparently goes 1=get canned, 2=get canned, 3 =get canned, 4= rubbish, 5= acceptable. That makes no sense, in that case have two stars instead of 5. Or start every trip at 5 stars and make people 'discount' stars for any issues and then let them add another one for really good service.

      The whole point of ratings is to show a difference, if everyone is to get a standard 4 or 5, where's the difference? Why even rate out of 5?

    Having not used uber before, my understanding is that the fare is calculated in advance. It then seems rather unfair then to mark an uber driver down because they didn't go into the drive through when requested. They're not getting paid extra so what's in it for them?

      No it's not calculated in advance.

      You can get an fare estimate in advance but the trip itself is calculated on time\distance same as a taxi (but cheaper obviously).

    I have been driving UberX for four months and am still on a 5 star rating. How?

    1. I clean my car before every shift. Dyson handheld vac is perfect for this.
    2. I wear nice clothes as I would when I am showing up to my full time job. Nothing fancy but clean collared shirt and pants.
    3. I make sure my boot is always empty.
    4. Try and make nice convo if they seem up for it.
    5. I have mentos on offer front and back. Pick up a big bag of individually wrapped mentos from officeworks, everyone loves it.

    ....but lets be honest, I could do none of those things and provided mentos......FIVE STARS!

    also, the passenger who demanded Spotify and then wanted to vibe on Courtney Barnett, he should've been given a 1 star by the driver for bad taste.

    And yes, the drivers rate the passengers too and all the drivers can see your score. I usually rate a passenger low if they set the pick up spot incorrectly or are just a general idiot. Luckily, everyone in Sydney seems pretty cool so majority get a 5!

    You give them a tip, simples.

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