The Real Uber Problem: When They Judge You

Often my knight in shining black armor after a long night/day.

When you summon an Uber, shortly after your ride you are able to rate your driver. Some drivers put treats/goodies (candy, gum, mints) in the backseat as an added bonus, I assume to boost a higher rating. Most of the time though, I’m so off put by (almost every driver’s) overcompensation for a musty smelling SUV with a surplus amount of cologne, that I usually rate them a 3 or 4 out of 5 stars. I’m brutal, I know. But then again, maybe they should stop dousing themselves/their car with fragrant smells to allow me to actually breathe during my ride.  

What I recently learned is that Uber drivers, in turn, rate you, as a passenger. Which is both terrifying and intriguing to me.

On a particularly rainy day after work I called an Uber to pick me up and bring me downtown to where I was supposed to meet a friend for drinks (yeah, call me lazy, whatever but this was an exception as I was running late). Being extremely curious about my rating, I asked my driver what my passenger score was.

“I can’t tell you,” Hasan said. (His name is Hasan, I swear. I rated him myself)

“But it’s public information – PLEASE, I read the Forbes article!”

“What?”

“PLEASE CAN YOU TELL ME! I JUST REALLY WANT TO KNOW,” I whined  from the backseat, like an overzealous toddler budding their obnoxious head into the front seat area. I was basically on the console between the passenger and driver seat.

At the next stoplight Hasan touched a few magical buttons,

You’re a 4.5(/5)”.

EXCUUUUUUUSE ME?! I sat silently in the backseat for the rest of the ride.

I wouldn’t call myself a perfectionist, but as someone who likes to be the best at everything they do, having a sub perfect rating was aggravating. I tried to comb back through all of my Uber experiences but nothing stood out as to why they would rate me ANYTHING LESS THAN A 5!  I mean, there was that one time I called an Uber from the airport on my way to Hawaii for two weeks and proceeded to leave my iPhone in his car. Needless to say, he held onto the phone for me all two weeks AND picked us up from the airport on my return, granting him an OBVIOUS 5 score, but maybe he downrated me because of my carelessness?

Regardless, hearing a man call me a 4.5 / 5, was the equivalent of being called a “but her face” / “butterface”. Which, I assume would be brutal, so I’m going off of pure assumption here. I’M PERFECT! JUST TELL ME I’M PERFECT for fuckssakes.

Because I'm a visual person.
Because I’m a visual person.

Then I learned there’s a client interface where you can view each of your Uber rides, delineated by your drivers name, pick up time, location, mileage, price, AND WHAT THEY RATED YOU on a scale of 1-5 stars. I recently checked, only to find my boy Hasan RATED ME A GODDAMN ⅗ stars! My lowest passenger rating ever given. I guess my persistence was offputting. RUDE! Hasan, if you read this and if you ever pick me up again I SWEAR I’M GIVING YOU 1 STAR! 

This now puts me at an average of 4.4 / 5. UGH!

Another find? The later my night gets (read: the more drunk I get into the night), the higher my Uber score given by the driver is. Weird, I wonder what that’s all about. It’s almost like that thing where typically later in the night / the earlier into the morning it gets, the more attractive and likeable a person gets. You know what I mean? Except, apparently it doesn’t only apply to the bar scene and nights out.

My personal scores (read: vendettas) aside, let’s look at the bigger issue here:

UBER IS JUDGING US HARDCORE.

First of all, now I have this unreasonable pressure to be uncharacteristically sweet and nice to my driver. The beauty of cabs (as I’ve mentioned before) is you can get in a hot mess, and not be judged whatsoever (even if you’re trying to keep yourself from vomitting in the back seat while he swerves across the Brooklyn Bridge). I don’t have to say a word, because usually they’re on their phone (speaker phone nonetheless) talking to someone (WHO HAS TIME TO TALK ON THE PHONE WITH A CABBIE DURING THE DAY/NIGHT?!), saving me the awkward small talk if I even wanted to attempt it. Now with Uber, I’ve notice myself being cordial and conversational – which is extremely out of character for me. Oh you like this heavy metal rock song? ME TOO! I LOVE IT SO MUCH, I HOPE YOU PLAY IT THE WHOLE, ENTIRE, RIDE!  

And my drunk self has changed whilst Uber-ing (because about 80% of my Uber rides are after 2am so I’ll let you put two and two together). Most people will tell you I am not a “nice” drunk. I don’t get the rosy in the face cute little flush and become sleepy and sweet. Instead, I become aggressive more often than not. Not like I’m a masculine man let me show you up type aggressive, but just aggressive. Be it aggressive in my talking, flirting, drinking, etc. I just become simply aggressive, in the most lady-like, classy possibly way. Yet, as soon as I stumble out of a lounge or bar and tap tap on my Uber app, my demeanor changes immediately because I have to put on a good face for my Uber driver. I become, effective immediately, that friendly drunk.

GIVE ME 5 STARS OR ELSE, UBER DRIVER!

The other thing about Uber client ratings is that the drivers can make their own decisions on whether or not to pick you up. In some cases, I’ve read drivers personally decide not to pick up passengers with a score lower than 4. This, in effect, would inevitably increase a shitty scored-passenger’s wait time. I will say, for the record, I haven’t had to wait more than 5 minutes for an Uber car.

This bilateral rating system is fantastic. I may not be happy with my personal rating, but the fact that the judging goes both ways is great for Uber, and ensures standards are kept for both parties.

But then again, we have to remember, Uber is not a car/taxi company, it’s first and foremost a technology company that relies on constant feedback and a continuous update.

I’m obviously going to think twice about giving a driver a sub-par rating because of his inability to tell whether ENOUGH COLOGNE IS ENOUGH.

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One Comment

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  1. Interesting, I never knew this. I’ve rated so many people 1-2 stars for taking bad routes / asking me directions and I used to get partial refunds. Now I know why that ship has sailed.

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