Uber Technologies Inc. (NYSE: UBER) has unveiled a new policy that will allow Uber drivers to rate their riders, with low-rated riders facing the risk of being banned from using the platform. This gives Uber’s drivers a way to have a greater say about the behavior of passengers and lets Uber flag bad passengers more quickly. Riders that lose access to the platform will also lose access to Uber’s food delivery app and JUMP, which allows people to rent electric bikes and scooters.
Uber has allowed passengers to rate drivers on a star system for years. Drivers with ratings below what Uber deemed acceptable found themselves at risk of losing access to the platform. According to a report published by Business Insider in 2015, the cutoff for drivers was 4.6 stars out of 5. Uber didn’t say what the thresholds will be for passengers to lose access to the ride-hailing service.
The new policy will begin in the United States and Canada. Any user will be able to check their rating on the app by visiting the main menu and looking at the number under their username. Riders at risk for deactivation will get several notifications and chances to improve their rating before being banned. They will also receive tips on how to improve their scores, like making sure to remove their trash from the vehicle or not asking their driver to speed for them.
Uber has been focused on improving the safety of its drivers and passengers after a slew of negative reports about the company hit the internet last year. Most damaging was a CNN investigation that found at least 103 Uber drivers in the United States had been accused of abusing or sexually assaulting their passengers in the previous four years. There have also been numerous reports of drivers being assaulted by their passengers.
Kate Parker, Uber’s head of safety brand and initiatives, wrote in a blog post announcing the policy: “Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability. 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.”