Have you ever given an Uber driver five stars who didn’t deserve it? If you’ve ever taken any ride-hailing service, the answer is probably yes.
Uber asks riders to give their drivers a rating of one to five stars at the end of each trip. But very few people make use of this full scale. That’s because it’s common knowledge among Uber’s users that drivers need to maintain a certain minimum rating to work, and that leaving anything less than five stars could jeopardize their status.
Drivers are so concerned about their ratings that one Lyft driver in California last year posted a translation of the five-star system in his car, to educate less savvy passengers. Next to four stars he wrote: “This driver sucks, fire him slowly; it does not mean ‘average’ or above ‘average.’” In a tacit acknowledgement of this, Uber said in July that it would make riders add an explanation when they awarded a driver less than five stars.