Passengers have been rating and reviewing limo, taxi and rideshare drivers for years now. But rider ratings have taken a new turn at Uber.
Following in the footsteps of other transportation companies, Uber has allowed passengers to rate drivers on a star system since the company's early days. And those ratings have had a direct influence on whether or not the company would allow drivers to stay behind the wheel.
Of course, as with all customer ratings, they are very subjective and easily manipulated by unscrupulous competitors and individuals, putting some drivers in unfair predicaments in their jobs.
While Uber also allowed their drivers to rate passengers, these ratings too were subjective. And there were no standard consequences for poorly rated passengers, so there wasn't much power in a passenger rating.
All of that has changed. Uber drivers now have more say about the behavior of their passengers, and consequences will be uniform across the company.
"Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability," said Kate Parker, Uber's head of Safety Brand and Initiatives, in a statement released Tuesday. Parker added, "While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it's the right thing to do."
A spokesperson for the Independent Drivers Guild, Moira Muntz, stated that "While most riders are respectful, banning riders who threaten driver safety, spew racist rants, and disrespect or damage our vehicles is the right thing to do. For too long there has been one-sided accountability and this is a positive step toward correcting that."
The statement comes on the heels of this video capturing a Lyft driver being attacked while behind the wheel by a rider in Queens.
Could this spell the end of the assumption that "the customer is always right?"