Uber passengers who habitually leave their trash behind and disrespect their drivers may soon get the boot.
The ride-hailing company announced Tuesday that riders with ratings that are "significantly below average" may lose access to the app, part of a rollout of the company's updated community guidelines, which riders must abide by to continue using the service.
Uber, however, said that bans for bad behavior won't come as a surprise to offending passengers. Riders will receive several notifications before they lose access to the app, the company said. And they also will have opportunities to improve their rating to remain in good standing. Tips to boost a user's rating include: "encouraging polite behavior, avoiding leaving trash in the vehicle and avoiding requests for drivers to exceed the speed limit," Uber said.
"Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability," Kate Parker, Uber's head of safety brand and initiatives, wrote in a blog post Tuesday. "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."
It was unclear if these would be lifetime bans or if there is a procedure for reinstatement for deactivated riders.
Uber did not disclose what the rating threshold would be for riders who risk being deactivated, saying only that riders who develop a poor rating may be kicked off the app. Uber passengers can see their rating, which appears underneath their name, by opening the main menu while in the app. Just as riders can rate drivers, drivers can rate passengers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. A passenger's rating is the average of the ratings they have received from drivers. According to Uber, very few people have a perfect rating of 5.
The app provides riders with tips on how to earn a high rating from drivers, including: arriving on time, extending courtesy and a positive attitude to drivers, and buckling their seat belt.
Uber drivers have long been required to maintain a minimum rating to stay on the app. According to Business Insider, drivers with a rating of 4.6 or lower may lose access to the service. But critics of the ratings systems for on-demand services have raised concerns that the scoring is prone to bias and is confusing. On the Uber app, a 4-star rating is defined as "OK, but had an issue," a 3-star rating is "Disappointing," 2-stars is "Bad," and 1-star is "Terrible."
Uber said it will launch a campaign to educate riders and drivers about its updated community guidelines. Riders in the United States and Canada will be the first to see an in-app prompt with a summary of the guidelines and will be asked to confirm that they understand them.
"By educating customers and partners about the Community Guidelines, asking them to confirm they understand, and holding everyone accountable, we can help Uber be welcoming and safe for all," Parker said.