- Uber said it could ban riders "if they develop a significantly below average rating" as part of a new campaign to encourage respect between riders and drivers on the platform.
- The averages vary by city. The ride-hailing giant didn't offer insight to what current averages are, but said it expects "only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted." Drivers already have to meet a minimum rating threshold, which also varies by city.
- Uber said it was launching an education campaign to remind users about community guidelines, with that campaign to include in-app messages, emails and signs at support hubs. Passengers with low ratings will also get advice about how to bring their ratings up.
Uber has focused a lot of attention on keeping riders safe from drivers, including the recent addition of a push alert to allow riders to check the identity of their drivers. This turns some of the attention back to riders, who can also pose a risk. A video that spread in the past week showed a rider assaulting a Lyft driver in Queens, NY. Lyft said it will ban the passenger when he is found.
"Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability," Uber’s head of safety brand and initiatives Kate Parker wrote in a blog post. While other safety updates have added new features to the app, this campaign focuses on emphasizing guidelines; it remains to be seen whether long-time riders will see a significant impact.
The Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), a Machinists Union affiliate representing 70,000 drivers in New York City, praised the move as a "positive step" toward correcting a "one-sided accountability" system.
"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," IDG spokesperson Moira Muntz said in a statement. "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."