Uber is finally going to hold its riders to the same standard of common decency that it holds its drivers—via their ratings.
In a blog post this week, Uber Head of Safety Brand and Initiatives Kate Parker wrote that riders in the U.S. and Canada could have their accounts deactivated if they dip below an average—but unspecified—rating.
According to the post, riders will be given tips on how to improve their rating, which might include not requesting that drivers speed or avoiding leaving trash behind in an Uber after they exit the vehicle.
“Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability,” Parker wrote. “Drivers have long been expected to meet a minimum rating threshold which can vary city to city. While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it’s the right thing to do.”
TechCrunch reports that Uber isn’t disclosing averages but noted that they “can vary city to city.” And lest you feel like this is some kind of Black Mirror-esque injustice, Uber says it will give users “several opportunities” to get their rating up before it gives them the boot.
A spokesperson told TechCrunch that it expects the new system “to impact only a very small number of riders.”
Uber is testing (?) an option to add drivers as your favorite so you can ride with them in the future pic.twitter.com/2BYm9RChCU
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 29, 2019
Of course, the feature doesn’t necessarily scrub all problematic passengers from the app, but as Parker noted, the feature does put some accountability on individual users to treat their drivers with a level of mutual respect—a tenet of the company’s community standards and basic decency.
As TechCrunch noted, a standards guide sent to drivers in 2014 said that if a driver’s rating dipped below 4.6, Uber would consider kicking them off the platform. But that point aside, if you can’t sit in a car without being an arsehole, you definitely shouldn’t be riding in cars with strangers.
Separately, app researcher Jane Manchun Wong on Wednesday tweeted that Uber may be testing a kind of “fav” feature for riders to allow them to ride with a driver again on future trips. It’s not clear how that would work in a sprawling city like Los Angeles or even New York City. But it’s kind of a neat idea.
We’ve reached out to Uber for more information about the rumoured favourite feature and whether or not these changes will be implemented in Australia. We will update this article if we hear back.