Ride-share company's philosophy: "Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability."

Uber recently announced that it's putting the brakes on bad riders. The company will start deactivating riders with a history of low ratings for passengers in U.S. and Canada. The company already deactivates drivers with a history of low ratings and is now taking it a step further to include those that use the service.  

“Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability,” Uber executive Kate Parker said in a blog announcing the change. “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.”

There's no word yet on what a rider's absolute minimum rating will have to be before they get booted from the back seat. According to Uber, the threshold will vary from city to city based on the city's average. What we do know is that the ride-share service launched a similar program in Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand in 2018, and riders who had a rating of four or lower got the heave-ho. And once you have been deactivated, you are banned from Uber for life. 

If you happened to be one of the bad eggs on the chopping block, you won't be immediately activated. Uber will send you several warnings, as well as tips to help you get your manners out of the gutter. A few tips include: don't ralph in the car after a night of bar hopping, don't leave trash behind, don't tell your driver how to drive (i.e. encourage them to break the speed limit), and so on. It's basically common sense. 

However, this new policy could leave the door wide open to unfair ratings, and undeserved deactivation. According to the Washington Post, Uber's rating system is pretty vague: a four-star rating is defined as “OK, but had an issue,” a three-star rating is “Disappointing,” two-stars is “Bad,” and one-star is “Terrible.”

To help combat some of the confusion and possible rating bias, Uber will be launching a campaign to educate riders and drivers about its new community guidelines. Riders will receive an in-app prompt with a summary of the new rules and will have to confirm that they understand them before they can use the app. 

“By educating customers and partners about the Community Guidelines, asking them to confirm they understand, and holding everyone accountable, we can help Uber be welcoming and safe for all,” Parker said.

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