Uber announced Wednesday that those passengers who receive bad marks from drivers will be booted from the platform. But, Uber said, they'll have to "develop a significantly below average rating."
If a passenger's rating starts to slip, the company will send tips on how to get it back up, such as being polite, not asking drivers to speed and not leaving trash in the car. Uber will give riders several opportunities to improve their ratings before kicking them off the app.
"Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability. Drivers have long been expected to meet a minimum rating threshold," Kate Parker, Uber's head of safety brand and initiatives, wrote in a blog post. "While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it's the right thing to do."
Uber drivers have horror stories of door slammers, rude passengers and ride cancelers. And it can get even worse from there, with messy eaters, vomiters, beer drinkers and people having sex. Uber and
driver forums are full of such tales.
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"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," said Moira Muntz, spokeswoman for the Independent Drivers Guild, which represents ride-hailing drivers in New York City. "For too long there has been one-sided accountability, and this is a positive step toward correcting that."
Deactivating riders is part of Uber's emphasis to get everyone who uses its app to treat each other respectfully. The company also said Wednesday that it's updating its community guidelines and boiling them down to three topics: treat everyone with respect, help keep one another safe and follow the law.
Uber plans to launch a campaign to educate all riders and drivers about these refreshed ground rules. And, before being able to use Uber, everyone must agree to the new guidelines. If someone is accused of violating them -- depending on the offense -- Uber said it could result in deactivation.
"Any behavior involving violence, sexual misconduct, harassment, discrimination, or illegal activity while using the Uber apps can result in the immediate loss of access," Uber wrote in its community guidelines. "Additionally, when law enforcement is involved, we will cooperate with their investigation."
Originally published May 29, 7 a.m. PT. Update, 2:30 p.m.: Adds comment from Moira Muntz, spokeswoman for the Independent Drivers Guild.