Uber drivers can now decline passengers with low ratings. For some time, both drivers and passengers, have been able to rate each other out of five stars but there are little consequences related to your score. Now drivers can refuse to pick up passengers with low scores.
"Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability," Kate Parker, Uber's head of Safety Brand and Initiatives, said in a statement released Tuesday. Parker added, "While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it's the right thing to do."
Agree or leave
Launching this new system in the United States and Canada; Uber passengers will be asked to read and agree to a Community Guidelines policy. If they refuse to confirm their agreement, they may be blocked from the app.
Passengers with low scores will be coached on how to improve their ratings. Tips include being polite, not leaving rubbish in the car and ‘avoiding requests for drivers to exceed the speed limit.’
Be quiet, driver!
If you are an Uber user, your score is available for you to see under your name in the menu bar. Drivers have long been required to maintain a high rating score. Dipping below 4.6 stars puts drivers at risk of being blocked from accessing the app, and therefore, their job.
The community guidelines are just one of a series of new tools and features that Uber has recently rolled out. Just a week ago, the recently-public ride-sharing app rolled out a feature for its premium Uber Black users that allows them to request a silent driver. Passengers using Uber Black can request that their driver not talk to them during the ride.
Uber said the feature was designed for people that needed to take a nap or get work done. But not everyone is happy. Drivers on Uber forums have already nicknamed the silent setting as "Uber quit mode," and as "Driver STFU."
The forums express their concern that this is just another way for drivers to be treated poorly by both the company and their passengers.
As well as the silent option, Uber announced passengers would have the option to request luggage assistance for the driver and to preselect an interior temperature before entering the car.
Uber Black passengers will also enjoy an Extended Pickup Period, that gives them more time between confirming a ride and being at the pickup point.
Drivers in the spotlight
Passengers using the cheaper UberX or UberPool won’t be able to request the additional services or silent mode. Uber went public just over a fortnight ago. Since its formation in 2009, Uber has been in and out of the news headlines with allegations that the company was protecting drivers who were accused of sexual assault and for reports that women were being harassed within the Uber corporation.
Just this week, a man accused of raping a passenger, while working as an Uber driver, was caught trying to flee the United States at the Mexican border. He has been charged with suspicion of rape in Santa Barbara.