Riders: This is why you need to pay attention to your driver ratings!

Many riders have asked us in the past, what is the deal with ratings? Do they matter? The answer is yes!

Here’s the deal:

When you rate a driver 4 stars or below on Uber (Lyft has a very similar prompt), the following prompt appears:

Look at those keywords. It was “OK, but had an issue.”

No driver is going to be perfect, and every once in a while a rider leaves trash behind that we may or may not see before the next rider. (Most of us do a quick glance over, but if something is stuck under a seat, we may not see it, especially if it is at night.) But riders can generally tell when someone was just a jerk and left some trash behind, or if our ride hasn’t been vacuumed in a couple of weeks. Yes, we will have those riders that will complain the car is dirty when it is raining outside. We will have a rider every once in a while ding us on Navigation when a construction zone forces us to detour.

The truth of the matter is, that it only happens every once in a while. With over 7,000 rides completed, I can speak from experience. Generally speaking, riders are not out making false claims against drivers day in and day out. Your Uber rating is based on the last 500 ratings (not rides) and your Lyft rating is based on the last 100 RIDES (if a rider does not rate you, you get a 5 star automatically.) If your rating is 4.8, that means you are getting dozens of 4 stars, meaning dozens and dozens of issues on Uber with prior riders (Assuming they are all 4 stars and not 1, 2 or 3-star ratings)

Now, the key difference between Uber and Lyft ratings is that with Lyft defaulting to a 5 star with no rating from the customer, it is very, very easy to maintain a 5.0. In comparison, a 5.0 on Uber likely means your driver is a brand spanking new driver and riders have simply not yet rated him or her enough. Of course, all it takes on Lyft, because of the 100 rating rule is (1) 4 star to drop you to a 4.90. However, hopping into a car with a stranger using companies like Uber and Lyft, who do not have the best track record, you might as well as be picky. Better safe than sorry.

How do I know drivers with ratings below 4.9 should be canceled on?
It’s simple. In the last few years of me driving, I have taken Uber and Lyft as a rider for various reasons. I can honestly say, especially after the driver I had last week, that ratings below 4.9 come with some very scary, questionable characters. I told myself, never again, but being in the suburbs comes long waits for cars, so I decided to hop into a Lyft that was a 4.8. The windshield was cracked, the door had a huge dent from another car hitting it, but the driver was in a rush. (Yes, I 1 starred this driver and reported him). My next driver had a 4.9 and that car was cleaner than mine. (I decided to take the tip money I reserved for the first driver and give it to the second driver, plus his. His car was that spot on.)

It may sound like I am exaggerating, and I really wish I could sit here, as an author on this wonderful ridesharehouston.org blog and tell you that its okay to take a Uber or Lyft. Just hop in, but that would be a straight-up lie. You have to be careful because these companies do not do their due diligence. Instead, they rely on you, the rider to review the drivers. Matter of fact, it is in the deactivation policy that if a driver has a rating below 4.6, they can be deactivated on UberX. However, drivers start to lose higher tier privileges (like Select, Black, Lux) at 4.8 So if they are 4.8, they are already on a thin line with Uber and Lyft and it is only a matter of time before they are deactivated. (Uber and Lyft understand the false reports and try to give drivers some leeway so they can have a chance to bring up their ratings.)

So what do I do when I get a driver that is rated below 4.9?
As a rider, you can cancel within 2 minutes of the driver accepting the ping and not be charged a cancellation fee. Of course, you might be rushing trying to leave at the last minute, and you may not notice that driver’s rating until after the 2 minute grace period ends. You can still cancel, but you will likely be charged a $5 cancellation fee. Uber and Lyft are quick to refund cancel fees, but if they don’t, that $5 could have literally saved your life whether that is from a car accident because of a reckless, grumpy driver, or from a driver who snapped. Trust me, once you stop riding with drivers that are below 4.9 stars, you will enjoy Uber and Lyft again.

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