Bernard Weil/Toronto Star via Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — It’s been five years this week since Uber launched its first service in San Francisco, but many of Uber’s customers in 58 countries still may not realize they are being judged by their friendly drivers.
Uber ratings cover both drivers and passengers, and are based on the ride experience, similar to the system of competitor Lyft.
“The rating system works to make sure that the most respectful riders and drivers are using Uber,” Uber states on its website. “Ratings are always reported as averages, and neither riders nor drivers will see the individual rating left for a particular trip.”
Here are several ways you can ride like a pro.
1. Check what your rating is
First, checking your rating as a passenger isn’t as mysterious as you would think. You can just email customer service or there’s a page on the Uber website called, “How do ratings work?” with a “submit” button. Just a few minutes later, you will receive an emailed “Uber support” response with your average rating on a scale of 1 to 5.
Not everyone can have five stars. Even Uber CEO Travis Kalanick told San Francisco magazine he was a “five” for a long time, then he had a “string of 4 stars.”
“I don’t know what happened. I think what happened was I was a little stressed at work. I was not as courteous as I should have been,” Kalanick said.
2. How to check your driver’s rating
An Uber user can only see a driver’s rating after the driver has accepted a ride request. It appears next to his or her photo at the bottom of the app.
3. Follow the golden rule
Treat your drivers and their cars like you and your own personal property would like to be treated when it comes to activities like smoking and drinking, Uber has said, “and let’s be honest: that greasy pizza can wait.”
4. Don’t be unsafe
Uber drivers have been deactivated for “consistently poor ratings” while riders have “been given a temporary cooling off period or barred from using the app for inappropriate or unsafe behavior,” according to an Uber blog post last year.
“We take this feedback seriously — depending on the circumstances, rider feedback may lead to deactivating a partner from the system or serve as validation that the driver is providing great service,” an Uber website post stated back in April 2014.
In San Francisco, as of April 2014, only 1 percent of trips end with a driver or rider given a low rating of 1 or 2, Uber said.
5. Make sure your pin is dropped in the right place
Make sure your location is pinned accurately, or even better, add your pickup address to the app to save time, Uber said in a post back in January. Uber’s “pro tip” on this subject: Entering your destination ahead of time makes everyone’s life easier.
“And, in case you were wondering: drivers can’t see your destination before accepting a request,” Uber has said.
6. Don’t try to cram more than four people in a car
Most Uber cars can only fit four passengers. If you need more space, request uberXL or uberSUV, which can fit up to six riders.
7. Be ready
“Driver-partners do everything they can to pick you up in under 10 minutes,” Uber has said. “Please try to return the favor by being ready to hop in your Uber when it arrives.”
But if you are a few minutes late, call or text your driver using Uber’s in-app feature, the company suggests.
Even if you’re running late to your destination, “don’t encourage your driver to break traffic laws like illegal u-turns,” the website says.
8. Introduce yourself
Confirm your first name with the driver and ask the driver to do the same to make for a smoother beginning, Uber recommends.
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