Rideshare services such as Uber, Lyft, and SideCar use a “five star rating” system to ascertain the bad and the good of drivers and riders using their services. Many people have difficulty understanding how these ratings work. The truth is, there is no understanding because the rating system itself does not reflect what you need to know.
The rideshare services allow Riders to rate Drivers and Drivers to rate Riders. One immediate flaw is that in a 1 star to 5 star system, one would believe that 1 star would be the poorest and 5 stars would be the best, and anybody that has ever evaluated any type of employee performance never gives a 5 star rating unless the employee is absolutely awesome at everything and does not require any form of improvement. And in any rating system, you always leave room for improvement. Thus, even those that were quite pleased with your performance rate you lower than they should. The impact of such ratings can easily get a Driver terminated or a Rider blocked from being able to ride with a specific Driver or blocked from using the service altogether.
If a Driver rating drops below 4.8 on one service, or 4.6 on another service, the Driver may suddenly find themselves unable to Drive for their company. Let’s look at some of the items that drivers are rated on:
Navigation: Riders expect that Drivers are knowledgeable of the local they are driving in.
- All of the rideshare services use a navigation program as part of their “Application” that is like “Google Maps” or a GPS system to plot the Rider’s trip from point A to point B. Rideshare Drivers are not supposed to take different routes than what the application tells them to unless the Rider requests a different route, so Driver knowledge of the local is not a necessity actually. The Driver need only to be able to follow the route provided by the application to be a top performer in navigation.
- That is, if the navigation provided by the application is accurate. In many cities the influence of other radio signals or interference from buildings will cause temporary failure of the system to the Driver leaving the Driver going in circles for a moment or two. This is not a Driver failure, but the applications failure.
- Riders knowledgeable of the local are allowed to ask the Driver to take a different route provided by the Rider if the Rider feels the route taken not the best route.
- Were the Application to provide accurate information to the Driver, it should be possible for any Driver to drive anywhere the service is provided by simply following the application without any knowledge at all of the area.
- Necessary route changes due to traffic, construction, and emergency services are always a concern but are not controllable by the Driver. Should a Driver find a way around this madness at all, commendation rather than condemnation would be the more appropriate response.
Safety & Performance: Riders expect a safe and sane ride to their destination.
- Driving in most major cities is dangerous even for the most experienced drivers. And, each city has certain areas that pose numerous difficulties that cannot be prevented except by miracle or blind luck. Even the individual commuter into any major city has numerous close calls if not by their act, by another driver. Most drivers are not even aware of the close calls they have had until somebody else tells them about it. Anybody driving the streets of any major city will experience at least one close call per day so why would you not expect a rideshare driver that drives 100 miles per day to have a few. The fact that a Driver only as a close call should give him award not discredit.
- Riders that rate Drivers on driver performance are not qualified to rate most driver safety and performance concerns. Many of the Riders have never driven within the local they are being transported and many have never even been licensed or owned a vehicle. Riders that assume that the driving practices of rural America are the same practices followed in a major city are the same, are not knowledgeable enough to rate a driver in this skill.
- There is no doubt that certain practices such as speeding, failure to follow signs, and failure to yield to others should be deemed as a negative towards the Driver, but when was the last time you rode in a Taxi-cab in any major city? There is little doubt that a Driver having a collision with another vehicle would receive a negative rating, even if the Driver not at fault for the accident, but a Driver’s avoidance of such should be commended not condemned.
Vehicle Appearance & Performance:
- This is rarely a concern as most rideshare cars are maintained very well, are subject to inspections, and are usually a matter of pride to the Drivers. Some Drivers wash their cars daily to ensure their vehicle clean and appealing to their Riders. Drivers that smoke do not do so within their vehicles and it is uncommon to find a rideshare car that is not clear of litter, trash, or other offensive materials.
- But, the Driver cannot control the Riders anymore than a parent can prevent a child from making messes wherever they go. While the intent to check your vehicle subsequent to each trip taken to remove and clean between trips sounds like a really good idea, reality does not often provide such ability. Sometimes the person the trip prior will leave stuff like soda cans, snack wrappers, and other litter behind as they exit the vehicle. Yes, the Driver should inspect his vehicle after each trip but that may mean the next Rider has to wait while he does so and many Rider’s who observe their Driver traveling towards them find even a red light delay reason for cancellation of the trip.
Driver Appearance & Personality:
- One of the primary offerings of any rideshare service is the Drivers are not grumpy, irritable, and aggressive taxi-cab drivers. The rideshare companies pride themselves on being friendly and social towards their Riders. This is one of the things that separates rideshare services from other means of transportation. Rideshare services encourage Driver – Rider social interaction in attempt to make Riders feel more comfortable during their trip.
- Most Drivers, if they observe their Rider to be occupied with work, reading, using their phone, or conversing with other Riders will not allow their interaction to interfere except as necessary to complete the trip. Sometimes it might be necessary to politely advise the driver that you are not in the mood or haven’t the time for social interaction, but social interaction is what you should expect when using rideshare services. A rideshare driver that is antisocial or moody would be considered a problem. Drivers are never to make advances or passes at Riders and doing so would be an offense that deserves a poor rating and possibly reporting to the rideshare company.
- Drivers not dressed in clean clothing or are unkempt in appearance are not acceptable by any of the rideshare services. Most drivers exceed requirements as far as appearance goes.
- Driver personalities may not always be exactly conducive to Rider personality. For that matter, nobody may fit exactly what personality a Rider may find most desirable. The ability to interact with others is a practiced art. Language differences, economic differences, and cultural differences are just a few of the reasons that personalities may clash, but it is doubtful that a rideshare driver will ever intentionally try to be offensive to you, or for that matter you to the rideshare driver. More often a personality clash with a Driver is caused by simple misunderstanding what the Driver or Rider said. Unless a Driver were to be truly offensive towards you like calling you a derogatory name, making racial slur, or similar it is likely no offense intended. Rating a Driver negatively for being different than yourself is ridiculous. We are all different from each other. Have a little tolerance and unless an intentional offense committed towards you, accept little differences as normal expectation.
Drivers get to rate their Riders also. I know some Drivers actually rate their Riders in much the same manner as Rider’s do Drivers. I rate ALL riders a 5 star rating. Why? Because it is your dollar paying for the ride. As such, you are the consumer. Giving a Consumer the best ride I possibly can is my goal. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes maybe not as good as others, but not for lack of trying. The Rider pays for me to perform a service and has every right to complain if I fail to meet his expectations. But what the Rider has, is more than he should have a right to. The rideshare rating systems allow the Rider the ability to get a Driver terminated from their respective service provider by simply not choosing the 5 star rating. If all Riders selected a 4 star rating which many believe would still be acceptable leaving room for improvement, I would be terminated for doing what I am supposed to do and what the Rider believes a fair rating. This is the issue that many terminated drivers have had to face thus far.
Now, getting terminated from a RideShare provider may not seem too big of a deal to the Rider. But, what if the Driver is doing this job as a means of primary income?. What if the Driver has invested $30,000.00 for a car to do this job with intent to perform this service for at least a few years? What the RideShare services have done is create a rating system that allows anyone to create severe financial damage to a rideshare driver, without the Driver having any ability to defend against. What isn’t being discussed is how this can even be used by rival rideshare services as well as other companies to sabotage the rideshare companies. In any other form of employment a complaint is received, investigated, and resolved. There is no resolve to the rideshare ratings system. And, as there is such an uninformed rating practice being performed by Riders, even the best driver may easily find themselves looking for a new job tomorrow with a car they do not need and an expense no longer supported by an income.
This even gets a little more ridiculous. All of the rideshare services allow their employees to use the services to travel to events and such. On a weekend night a Driver may very likely pick up one of the company employees and take them to parties, bars, or nightclubs and/or transport them back. What other business allows employees not capable of doing performing another employees job, while under the influence of alcohol, to rate the other employee? NEVER, NONE, NOT A SINGLE ONE! But this is the reality for the rideshare drivers. Actually, anyone completely intoxicated and incompetent to even drive a vehicle is able to rate their rideshare Driver. How many Riders does a rideshare Driver pick up per week? LOTS! The same Driver that transports the “under the influenced” providing a service creating safer streets and highways can be rated by people not capable of providing a fair rating due to their partying, regardless if rideshare employee or not. So why do the rideshare companies allow such ratings to have severe impact to their Drivers? I have not a clue as to why, but they do. Why do Riders not rate Drivers a 5 star rating all the time? I again have no clue. I do know that when a Rider gets into my car, I make every effort to ensure they are comfortable, and to provide them safe and sane transport from wherever to wherever, as professionally as I am capable. It is ridiculous that a rideshare driver should have to fear this rating system and try to perform a quality service at the same time, and even more ridiculous that the rideshare companies continue to allow such rating system to harm Drivers.