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How to Get a High (or Low) Uber Passenger Rating

Feb. 24, 2015
Personal Finance
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It hasn’t technically been a secret. But many users of the ridesharing app Uber are just now learning a detail that could explain why their pickups by drivers have been slow, or nonexistent.

Uber drivers can rate passengers, just like passengers can rate drivers, and can even blacklist them if their behavior is deemed unworthy of a backseat spot, a friendly chat and a bottle of water.

“What we want is for people to respect the driver, and for drivers to respect the customer,” Uber driver Derrick Jennings told CBS Los Angeles this week. “They can give us a low rating. It can go both ways. That way, we can police each other.”

A customer’s passenger rating, measured on a scale from 1 to 5, isn’t listed on the app the same way a driver’s is, although Uber says that’s coming in a future version of the app. But it’s easy enough to find out your Uber passenger rating.

One way is to simply ask your driver. If you’d prefer to be less direct, you can email Uber Rider Support, and they’ll let you know.

Fortunately for those app users hungry for a perfect “5” — and, presumably, the good service that comes with it — Uber and its drivers have offered tips on how to “ride like a pro.”  The folks at Business Insider also asked drivers for tips. (We’ll presume these work nicely for competitors like Lyft, too).

Some of the compiled wisdom includes:

  • Pinpoint your location: When dropping a map pin on the app, take a second to make sure it’s in the right spot so the driver can find you easily. Or, better yet, include a street address, too.
  • No clown cars: Most cars fit four people comfortably. That’s a driver and three passengers. Don’t try to cram the entire beer-league softball team into one car to save a few bucks.
  • Don’t eat: Some drivers say they’re happy to oblige hungry passengers who politely ask permission. But, as a rule, don’t chow down during your ride. Nobody wants to have to scoop up your rogue burrito stuffing before picking up another customer.
  • Be ready: Time actually is money, especially for folks who get paid per job like ridesharing drivers. If you need a couple of extra minutes, you can text or call your driver through the app to let them know.
  • Tip: This should be a no-brainer. But, some people, right? There’s currently no in-app tipping feature on Uber. So having a couple bucks in cash to slip the driver is a sure way to get you those five stars.
  • Drunk? Don’t be disorderly: Sure, having one too many is a perfectly good reason to hail an Uber or other form of alternative transportation. But don’t let the hooch make you an obnoxious slob. Somebody’s getting you home safe — show ’em a little respect.
  • In fact, don’t ever be a jerk: The driver isn’t your chauffeur. Want the air on, or off? The radio station changed? An extra bottle of water to go? Ask. Don’t demand. Be nice. Do unto others. You know … the stuff they taught you in kindergarten.

Doug Gross is a staff writer covering personal finance for NerdWallet. Follow him on Twitter @doug_gross and on Google+.

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