Your Passenger Uber Rating Is Uber's Way Of Judging You Back

You thought your Uber ride was a judgment-free zone. But you were wrong: Uber drivers can rate passengers just like passengers can rate drivers. And yesterday, a hack hit the scene that let users sneak a peak at their ratings, seizing many with interest, humor, and even a little insecurity (a 4.5, seriously!?). The hack, revealed by Aaron Lundy at Medium, has since been fixed by Uber — they'd rather you not know what their drivers are thinking about you, clearly — but for a while, the transparency was pretty awesome.

The rating scale runs from a score of one to five, just like when you rate the driver. While the reasons a driver's performance might be subpar are pretty obvious — lateness, poor sense of direction, recklessness, whatever — it's possible you've never thought about how or why your behavior might be irritating the person behind the wheel, and the chance to pull back the curtain was fun. Ultimately, if there was any one common reaction, it was confusion.

For what it's worth, however uncomfortable it may be to see someone else's judgment of you staring back, Uber's rating system has higher stakes for its drivers than its riders. Poor ratings can get drivers kicked off the service, which is one big reason they've been protesting recently. As detailed by Business Insider, a protest took place at Uber's offices in Santa Monica late last month, focusing both on the rating system and Uber's insurance practices (UberX drivers are only covered when they have passengers aboard, but not when driving to pick-ups).

That's not to say the ratings have no impact on riders, however. Ostensibly, riders with dismally low ratings are less likely to be picked up by drivers, who aren't tethered to a iron-clad schedule — making your own hours is one of the company's selling points.

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Which basically means there's nothing forcing an Uber driver to pick up a potentially problematic rider. This makes even more sense when you consider how damaging a poor rating could be for that driver. If you're worried someone is going to be trouble, and your job depends on their feedback, you might do the same thing.

It's unclear how low ratings have to be to cause drivers and passengers alike to get the brush-off from Uber. But the company's made it quite clear that they do, on the Feedback Policy page of their official blog:

Have partner drivers been deactivated for consistently poor ratings? You bet. Have riders been given a temporary cooling off period or barred from using the app for inappropriate or unsafe behavior? Yes. ... We’re exploring ways to show the rider’s rating in the next generation of the app, but in the meantime, a user’s rating can be obtained by simply asking the driver or contacting customer support.

So, there you have it! They might roll out public transparency for them in future versions, which would be awesome, though it does raise the question — if this is something they're interested in doing to begin with, why fix the hack so swiftly? In any event, you can always use the good old-fashioned way to find out your rating: Just ask your driver.

Image: Getty Images