It’s well known by now that anything less than a five-star rating can lead to negative consequences for Uber drivers. Now, that same concern is coming to riders.
When you drive for Uber, riders get to rate you on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. If a driver’s rating drops below a certain threshold (this threshold varies by country and city, but some reports say it’s as high as an average rating of 4.6), then they could be placed under “quality review” and eventually if the rating doesn’t rise, their account could be deactivated entirely. For this reason, general courtesy dictates that unless your driver does something truly worth reprimand, a five star rating should be equivalent to “good enough.”
Now, a new policy is turning that same dynamic on riders. Drivers have been able to rate riders for a while, allowing other drivers to see whether a rider is going to be a problematic customer. However, now if a rider falls below a minimum threshold, they’ll receive a warning. If their rating doesn’t improve, they could have their account deactivated. Deactivated riders can have their accounts reinstated by taking a “short educational exercise,” though, so the punishment might not be quite as harsh in practice for riders as it would be for drivers (who could face lost income if their account gets deactivated).
While overall it’s probably a little more fair for drivers to have the same rating powers that riders have, it also lends itself to the problem of reputation inflation. Namely, that when everyone knows that the system favors five-star ratings and punishes anything below four-stars, then even average drivers and riders will start to trend towards a five-star rating. Still, at least the ratings flow in both directions now.