5 Sep 2018

Low-rated Uber users could soon be banned

5:05 pm on 5 September 2018

Ride-sharing service Uber has announced changes to their guidelines which could lead to riders being banned.


Uber has updated its guidelines for users in New Zealand and Australia. Photo: AFP

After each ride, Uber drivers and riders rate each other using a five-star system.

Drivers and riders are then given a rating based on the average score from their previous 500 reviews, with the best of the best achieving a five-star rating.

Uber has today announced changes for Australia and New Zealand that mean any passenger who has an average rating of four or below will be warned, and could be banned from using the app.

Uber's New Zealand country manager Amanda Gilmore said the changes were requested by drivers.

"The announcement is explaining changes we're making, and explaining how riders can lose access to the Uber app for consistently low ratings," Ms Gilmore said.

"This change is really about setting good standards of behaviour, and creating a mutual level of respect between drivers and riders.

"The types of things riders can do to make sure that they get five stars are making sure you're dropping the pin in the right location for your pick up, doing things like not making a mess in a driver's car, not bringing food and drink in there, not slamming the doors.

"Generally, if you think about it, a driver's car is their workplace, so we're asking people to be respectful and courteous to that workplace."

Uber already has guidelines in place allowing it to ban users for safety issues.

Drivers, too, can be banned for bad behaviour and threatening a rider's safety.

But these changes, which will be introduced on 19 September, take things a step further when it comes to rider conduct.

Auckland Uber driver Gregory Kent is happy about the changes, having had one particularly bad experience during his 18 months with the company.

"It was probably 11 O'clock at night, and I picked up these boys who were going to a party," Mr Kent said.

"The guy in the back decided to start abusing me. He was calling me offensive words, and I politely said to him if he continues I can't drive, because it's pretty rude," he said.

"The guy continued, so I pulled over the car and said I'd have to cancel the trip.

"All of them got out of the car, and then the guy gets his foot and starts smashing the car."

The new guidelines would mean a passenger like that would be banned from using the service, Mr Kent said.

In his 18 months in the job, Mr Kent has completed 6800 trips, and said he would have rated all but about 100 of them five stars.

"It's 99 percent of the time, everyone is all good. They get in the car, we have good banter, and they get where they need to go," he said.

"It's just that one percent. They're the bad ones."

Ms Gilmore echoed those sentiments, saying the changes would only be of concern for a tiny number of Uber's New Zealand customers.

"We have 485,000 riders in New Zealand who actively use the Uber app," Ms Gilmore said.

"The vast majority of those are rated above 4.5. This is to address the outliers."

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