Should Uber riders be punished if they have low ratings? | The Tylt
Should Uber riders be punished if they have low ratings?
This step from Uber shows that the company is finally prioritizing its drivers over potential revenue. As NBC News' Ben Kesslen and Andrew Kozak point out, there are plenty of tragic stories of drivers assaulting riders buzzing in the news, but decidedly less attention on riders endangering drivers. According to some experts, the latter is just as much a concern as the former. Kesslen and Kozak refer to the Independent Drivers Guild, which represents 70,000 rideshare drivers in New York City, for insight:
"Holding riders accountable for their behavior on the Uber platform is an important safety measure to protect drivers as well as fellow riders who may book shared rides," a spokesperson for the guild said. "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."
But the similarities between Uber's new plan and a certain Black Mirror episode are not lost on many. Punishing customers based off of arbitrary ratings is a slippery slope. In Uber's current rating system, driver and rider ratings provide helpful transparency for both parties participating in a service transaction. But if one party is able to use those ratings against the other, the door is left open for customer discrimination.
But according to Uber, there's no need to panic. Uber will notify riders if they are in danger of their scores dropping below acceptable rates. Newsweek's Christina Zhao reports on a statement from Kate Parker, Uber's head of Safety Brand and Initiatives:
If a rider’s rating falls below the minimum threshold, they will “receive tips on how to improve their ratings, such an encouraging polite behavior, avoiding leaving trash in the vehicle and avoiding requests for drivers to exceed the speed limit,” Parker explained. “Riders will have several opportunities to improve their rating prior to losing access to the Uber apps.”
The goal of this system is to educate riders on Uber's community guidelines—which all Uber customers agree to—not to treat customers unfairly.