At some point in your career as a rideshare driver, you are going to experience difficult passengers.
When this happens, drivers are encouraged to do their best to remedy the situation, even if the rider is rude beyond control.
Although this type of behavior can happen for many reasons, ranging from intoxication to stress or anxiety, there is no justification for a rider to take their emotions out on a driver.
Despite knowing this, drivers will often forego giving a rider a lousy rating, even if the passenger deserves one. Sometimes a driver may opt out of leaving a bad rating after weighing the pros and cons of that rider no longer using the service.
For example, drivers may rationalize that if a rider receives a low rating, they will be less likely to use the rideshare app in the future, thus reducing the number of possible ride requests a driver can complete over time.
We encourage drivers to leave a low Uber passenger rating when it is necessary. Ignoring this behavior may lead the rider to believe that it’s acceptable to behave that way on future rides.
And if a bad rider doesn’t get a low rating, it will make life more difficult for future drivers. When you give a passenger a poor rating, it’s a heads up for future drivers. It warns them that trouble could be ahead.
So, it’s best to let the driver who receives the next call from these passengers decide for him or herself whether or not to accept the call.
By not leaving an honest rating, your rider will be led to believe that their behavior is acceptable. And that will cause them to continue acting that way and they will probably even get worse.
If there are no consequences for their behavior in the form of a low rating from the driver, then the next driver they get will be forced to deal with a bad situation.
That driver may even turn out to be you! That is why drivers should always leave feedback. To help you identify when and why it is acceptable to give your rider a bad rating, we have created this guide.
How Do Bad Ratings Impact Riders?
Up until last year, riders were unable to see their ratings. Once Uber updated the app to make it easier for riders to look at their scores, things changed quite a bit.
Passengers started to become more aware of themselves and how they are behaving during trips — especially if their rating is not close to 5.0 stars.
In one way, ratings affect riders the same way they do drivers – everyone is shocked when they discover they don’t have a perfect 5 stars! And almost everyone wants to improve their good rating.
Riders are taking the new rating system to heart. A good number of them are tipping drivers generously to secure a perfect 5.0-star rating.
Just like the driver rating system, the Uber rating system for passengers encourages riders to be conscious of their behavior during trips. These will, hopefully, lead to better passengers and better drivers.
Drivers are reminded to be conscientious as well about their behavior during trips. And they should be conscientious and honest when rating passengers.
Remember, if a passenger deserves a low rating, you should give them one, but, think about the reasons behind why you want to leave the rating before doing so.
If you give a passenger a rating of 3 stars or less, neither Uber nor Lyft will pair you with that rider again.
For more information about how passengers are responding to the new rating system among, check out this Ridester article.
Reason 1: The Passenger Was Rude
Let’s review a situation where a low star rating is 100% justified. Let’s say a rider gets into your car. They do not return your cheerful “hello,” make eye contact or communicate with you in any way.
If you’re extroverted, this may seem rude and disrespectful. But, that rider may be shy and even nervous about using rideshare.
Would you find it justifiable to reward this person’s efforts with a low rating? Odds are the answer is no.
Let’s go over a different rideshare scenario that is worthy of a low rating. A passenger gets into your car, face bright red, yelling into their phone.
After the rider hangs up their phone, they turn to you and unleash offensive language in your direction, then insult everything about you.
At this point, it is pretty clear that the rider is having a bad day. So, being a professional rideshare driver, you assume this has nothing to do with you and cut them some slack.
You might even be going as far as asking if everything is OK. Then, with no warning, the rider starts wailing at the top of their lungs, startling you and causing you to almost wreck. This deserves a low rating. No questions asked.
Anytime a rider makes you feel uncomfortable, it is your responsibility as a driver to warn others in the industry in the form of ratings.
By doing so, you reduce the chance of other drivers having to deal with this type of situation. Notifying the rider of their unacceptable behavior ensures you won’t have to ride with them again and might make them think about their behavior.
Reason 2: The Rider Was Aggressive or Threatening
Imagine that your passenger is excited about an event, such as a sports game.
They are displaying this emotion by fist-bumping in the air, high-fiving another rider, rolling down the window and cheering, or other similar behavior.
The passengers never touch you, obstruct your mirrors, or get too loud for an extended period. Sure, these passengers may be aggressive fans. But, is their excitement worthy of a 1-star rating? Especially compared to the rider in our next example.
A person gets into your car. Even though they are laughing, for some reason, you are on edge. They lean in from the back seat, so much so that over time you ask if they have their seatbelts on.
You pull up to a red light and take a look in the mirror. The rider is staring a hole through you. In the time it takes you to blink, they have thrown a punch that stopped inches away from your face.
Terrified, you immediately pull over as they start laughing and ask them to exit the vehicle.
This, without a doubt, is worth a 1-star-rating. Furthermore, if you experience anything close to this scenario, you should contact Uber or Lyft immediately and let them know this passenger acted in a violent way
Having unsafe riders on the system puts everyone at risk, so taking the time to call Uber or Lyft and possibly the authorities, benefits all drivers.
Reason 3: The Rider Was Too Drunk to Function
If you opt to work during the weekends, odds are you are going to have an intoxicated passenger or two.
There are all types of behaviors associated with having a couple of drinks. Not all intoxicated passengers are threatening.
Still, if a rider cannot hold their liquor and ends up getting sick in your backseat, that deserves a bad rating.
No one enjoys cleaning up that type of mess, and riders should be mindful of that, even if they are doing the right thing by not drinking and driving.
Another negative result that can happen after getting too intoxicated involves being unaware. More specifically, leaving their friends in the vehicle after they get dropped off or falling asleep along the way, forcing you to find a way to wake them up when you get to their destination.
If a rider is too drunk to function and they cause you to lose time, they deserve a lower rating.
Reason 4: The Passenger Was Not Ready When You Arrived
Speaking of time, passengers that are not ready at their pickup location when you arrive may deserve a low rating.
Especially considering how much effort Uber and Lyft have put into their apps to insure that riders will know when you are arriving. There is a feature within the passenger app that tells riders how much time until the driver arrives.
As if that was not enough, both rideshare companies offer drivers with a way to notify riders when they have arrived. Due to all this, if a rider makes you wait for an extended period, they are asking for a low rating.
Unforeseen events do happen. Sometimes passengers have trouble finding you or something else out of their control happens. Avoid giving the rider a lousy rating in these instances.
Of course, if neither of the events we outlined happened and the passenger is taking their time to get to your car, thus wasting your time, leave a low rating.
Reason 5: A Passenger Tried to Bring a Pet With Them
Compared to some of the other reasons we have listed, trying to bring a pet on board may not seem worthy of a low rating. Your vehicle is where you run your business.
The space inside your car is yours and should be treated with respect. Meaning that, if you do not want to deal with having to clean up pet hair, you have the right to say no.
Passengers that do not give you the opportunity to say no are being rude and disrespectful. Being inconsiderate in this manner deserves a low-rating as well as a detailed comment explaining why.
That way, other Uber drivers can know what to expect before the rider gets into their vehicle if the rideshare entrepreneur even opts to accept the ride request.
There are people out there who have severe allergic reactions to pet dander. Drivers that fit into this category may prefer to opt out of these types of rides.
However, you should be aware that both Uber and Lyft require drivers to accept service animals. Those are animals (usually dogs) that are trained to help the passenger with some disability they have.
It is normal for drivers to be instantly deactivated if a passenger complains that they didn’t accept their service animal. And they don’t have to provide any documentation or proof that the animal is a service animal. If they claim it is, you have to take them at their word. You’re not allowed to ask for proof.
In these cases, it’s best to take the passenger and their animal without question or complaint. Then you can leave a low rating afterward if you feel it is warranted.
We have covered several scenarios where it is acceptable to give a rider a low-rating, as well as some examples of when it is not. A significant takeaway that drivers should keep in mind is the fact that people make mistakes.
Be sure that when you leave a bad rating, it is justified. If it is, do not hesitate to leave a low rating for the rider. By doing so, you are making the rideshare market a safer, more accountable place.
On the flip side, make sure to leave a five-star rating
If a rider is acting out, as in they are a danger to themselves and others, contact Uber or Lyft as soon as possible.
You may end up saving someone’s life — including your own.