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What Might Be Dinging Your Uber Rating

What Might Be Dinging Your Uber Rating
Jennifer Billock

So you don’t have a perfect rating as an Uber passenger? Join the club. Even the service itself says a perfect 5.0 is nearly impossible. But the reason why your score is low may surprise you—it ranges from everything from smelly food and crumbs to not tipping and slamming the car door on your way out.

In today’s world of ratings and instant gratification, we all want to be the top ranking at whatever we can—and that includes services like Uber. But sometimes, we may glance at our rating to find the surprise that (gasp!) we don’t have a 5.0 ranking.

Without rating comments on Uber, it’s usually difficult to figure out why we weren’t ranked as perfect. Business Insider took some of the mystery out, chatting with 20 different drivers from Uber, Lyft, Via, and other ride-sharing services to determine what makes a crappy passenger the worst in their book.

Here are the top pet peeves.

  • Food: Nearly every driver complained about people bringing smelly food into their cars (the odor lingers after you leave, you know) and passengers leaving crumbs in the car after they ate. The drivers have to clean that up after you leave.
  • Smoke: It’s rare that someone will pull out a cigarette in a car that isn’t theirs, but vaping remains an issue. Drivers don’t like the smell, and they don’t like people trying to sneak it. If you smell like weed, too, then you’re getting a lower rating.
  • Fighting the Route: All of the drivers have a GPS service. You may know your way around town really well, but let them do their job instead of complaining about their route.
  • Bad Manners: This includes slamming the door, being a jerk, harassing female drivers, not being ready when the car arrives, not tipping, and using the wrong pick up point.


[Image Source: Shutterstock]

View Comments (22)


  1. DCAFly

    May 6, 2019 at 6:34 am

    I suspect it’s mostly that you don’t tip…but re: “using the wrong pickup point” Uber needs to improve the app. I’ve had two instances in the last two weeks where the app fixed me in the right place, but once it found the driver, it told me I had to go to a different location for a pickup. Crazy.

  2. bimmerfreak0

    May 6, 2019 at 8:15 am

    Not tipping….interesting. One of the original premises of Uber was that no tipping was required.

  3. carlosdca


    May 6, 2019 at 9:49 am

    False. Drivers can’t see tips before rating.

  4. illesus

    May 6, 2019 at 10:21 am

    Bad manners for not tipping. Seriously?

  5. Occupationalhazard

    May 6, 2019 at 10:38 am

    So if you want a high rating – and I have a single blemish from a guy who was simply having a bad day and took it out on me (4.96/5.0, down from 5/5), here are some tips:

    A. Be at the pickup point when you are supposed to be.

    B. Shoot the driver a not (“Tall guy, black shirt”) to make pick up easier.

    C. Greet the driver by name.

    D. Explain that you are a “5 for 5” guy/gal. If the driver doesn’t know what that means, it means “5 star driver rating in exchange for 5 star passenger rating.” I tip, so I will usually add that, “And I’m not afraid to tip.”

    E. After that, engage the driver in conversation, or don’t, based on your predilections. If I’m tired, and want a quiet ride, I will say, “Hey man, I’m beat and I just want to chill, but I want you to know I’m a 5/5 guy, and we’re all good.”

    And that’s how you get a good Uber rating.

  6. strickerj

    May 6, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Anyone else find it pretty offputting that a business so overtly rates the “performance” of its customers? Maybe I’m a bit out of touch, but whatever happened to “the customer is always right”, and actually working to earn your business? I’d prefer not to be part of these mind games.

  7. unregistered1

    May 6, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Fighting the route is a stupid reason for a driver to ding you and this is terrible advice. I do the same trip in Austin from the airport to the S. Lamar area every week and Uber on a somewhat regular basis tells a driver to take 35 to N. Riverside which is 100% wrong ALL THE TIME. There are other ways to go if 71 gets backed up but 35 is always a cluster and never the right way to go.

    Ask most driver’s with a clue and they will tell you themselves that Uber’s nav is garbage and most use Google Maps or Waze instead.

  8. RealityBites

    May 6, 2019 at 12:03 pm

    Agree re pickup points…Uber for me frequently indicates a place to wait for the car, while the driver waits around the corner etc. It’s especially annoying as the pickup points are often semi-inconvenient while the drivers usually (but not always) wait at convenient places!

  9. GrayAnderson

    May 6, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    Agree as well re pickup points (I once had the app send a driver to the wrong side of a lake and then ding me for not being there when he got to the wrong location…this was in the UK, not the US, but the point stands). Also, I’d note that:
    (1) The Uber app doesn’t always do a great job dealing with traffic/construction; and
    (2) Dropoff can also be problematic (e.g. the app tries to have them drop you off at the wrong door and customizing that can be more trouble than it is worth vs just giving the driver directions on approach).

    As one user noted above, almost all the drivers I’ve dealt with not only know the app is problematic, they often *welcome* assistance, particularly if you’ve got an app that alerts them to something that the Uber app doesn’t “see” (e.g. Waze/traffic).

  10. TBRIC

    May 6, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    I always thought that when pinging for a pickup the drivers could see your rating (and maybe prioritize you over someone else with a poor rating.). Had a driver recently tell me this is not true- they can’t see your rating. If that’s the case, why bother other than for personal gratification?

  11. controller1

    May 6, 2019 at 4:03 pm

    The Uber navigation app is garbage. In my notes to the driver I always give them a simple direction. The app has the driver enter our subdivision and immediately make a right going into the next subdivision, driving through it and exiting the back of that subdivision and entering the back of our subdivision to come to our house. Our house is exactly nine houses on the right on the same street that is the entrance to the subdivision!

  12. Tizzette

    May 6, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    I do not like Uber accepting your pickup location, then trying to make your go stand somewhere else so I just override and text the driver where I am at. But it is important to pick an easily identifiable place that is easy to pull over.

  13. rylan

    May 6, 2019 at 7:19 pm

    What is the point of ratings? Not tipping shouldn’t be a reason to ding somebody..
    The rating system for passengers should only be to alert Uber of those with chronic bad behaviors.

  14. Gringa

    May 6, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    I have a 5 rating but I always tip in cash.

  15. blue2002

    May 6, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    @Occupationalhazard, why would you actually care so much about how an Uber driver rates you? Why would anybody?

  16. J S

    May 7, 2019 at 10:50 am

    Agree with @blue2002: Why would I care?

  17. jamesteroh

    May 7, 2019 at 11:20 am

    A guy who works in my office building that I talk with regularly was telling me he drives for Uber for part time income.

    I asked him about ratings (I’m rated 4.97 and always tip in cash so not sure where I got dinged but he said it could be a good thing because soem drivers will see a five and thing you are a new rider). He said for a lot of drivers it doesn’t matter and they don’t pay attention to ratings but him and some other drivers who are just doing this for side cash and want to make a profit will only pick up high rated riders figuring anyone lower rated is probably not going to tip and won’t be that profitable and/or a pain for a rider. He won’t pick up anyone rated under 4.92.

    He also told me he only gives five stars to tippers and will rate three or below for non-tippers. He figures the lower rating will be a warning to future drivers and a good tipping customer will get picked up faster. He was also telling me the majority of times when a rider says they will tip on the app they don’t and he also gets 1099’d for the app tips and prefers cash tips.

  18. arollins

    May 7, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    There are some markets (Chicago) where drivers do not see ratings.

  19. El Puerco Volante

    May 7, 2019 at 12:53 pm

    And…who cares about Uber rating? I have better things to care about

  20. htb

    May 7, 2019 at 10:29 pm

    Uber should have sticked to “no tips”. Why can nobody in the US just do a job and not retaliate if he or she just gets paid the agreed price?

  21. Snuggs

    May 8, 2019 at 11:33 am

    I have to laugh at this. DRIVERS are offend by the smell? Ironic that to earn greater than a 4.0 you have to aide and abet in the driver committing a felony? I offended one driver when I pointed out broken equipment on his vehicle. Picky yes, but it was a spring protruding thru the back seat.

  22. sunpass

    May 15, 2019 at 10:20 am

    @OccupationalHazard So if you had a ride with a dangerous, distracted Uber driver would you still be a 5/5 guy for fear of ruining your perfect rating?

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