How to Fix Uber and Lyft’s Ratings System

Today, contributor John Today has a video for us about driver ratings. As we all know, the ratings system for Uber and Lyft is pretty bad. John covers why it’s bad, and what Uber and Lyft can do to turn things around.

Check out the video, then read the transcript below if you like to read.

Why is the Uber and Lyft driver rating system bad?

There’s the 4.6 cutoff, which means that drivers whose average rating falls below 4.6 are kicked off the platform. There’s the fact that many passengers don’t understand that this is the case, so they give out four stars, thinking it’s a good rating, thinking that it works like an Amazon product review when in fact it does not.

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There’s the fact that passengers rate drivers over things that the driver doesn’t really any control over, they’ll give you a low rating if there’s a lot of traffic, they’ll give you a low rating if it’s surge pricing, so the driver doesn’t always have control over the factors that the passenger is rating. It’s really hard to recover from a one star rating. If a passenger gives you one star, that brings your whole rating down. And it takes 19 five star rides to repair the damage from one one star rating.

There’s very little feedback, so a lot of drivers see their rating falling, or they see a one star rating and they don’t know what they did wrong, they don’t know why the passenger rated them that way, and Uber and Lyft typically don’t tell them. Sometimes you’ll get a flag on your account, but usually, you just see your ratings slipping with no explanation as to why.

And finally, there’s no way to dispute a rating. So if you have a passenger who rates you low because of the traffic or because of the surge pricing, and you contact Uber and Lyft to get that rating removed, nine times out of ten, they’ll come back and say, sorry, we can’t do that.

How can Uber and Lyft fix their ratings system?

Uber and Lyft, if you’re listening, pay attention to this part. The first fix is to provide drivers with more feedback. I think it would be a really good system to require a comment anytime anyone rates a driver below four stars, four stars or below. That would help drivers know what they’re doing wrong, and it would discourage passengers from giving out low ratings for no reason. Even if they don’t have to type in a comment, just selecting what went wrong with the ride, being required to make a selection as to what went wrong with the ride, I think that would really help discourage people from giving out low ratings, and help people understand the system better.

Related: One quick tip to improve your driver rating

Speaking of people understanding the system better, the next tip is to just educate people about how the system works. It would be really great if Uber and Lyft would add a line of text to the rating screen, explaining that drivers who fall below 4.6 stars get kicked off the platform. I think if more people knew how that rating system worked, they would rate drivers very differently.

Adjust the rating algorithm to account for different rating standards

And the last fix is a little complicated, but it’s to adjust the algorithm. The way the algorithm works now, if a passenger rates you three stars, that three stars goes directly into your average as a three. A better system would be to look at what the passenger rates drivers on average, and then only take into account the deviation from that average.

Let’s say there’s a passenger who rates everybody three stars, and then he goes and rates one guy four stars. That four stars should count as a thumbs up for that one driver, rather than being a thumbs down for being not five stars. In other words, a better algorithm would take into account passengers rating tendencies, so it’s not just a raw value, but it takes into account how they think the rating system works, and what kind of ratings they’re giving out an a regular basis, before it takes that rating and applies it to your rating.

Disqualify ratings that aren’t about the driver

Besides providing more feedback to drivers, educating passengers and fixing the ratings algorithm, Uber and Lyft could also help the situation by being more willing to remove comments or ratings that aren’t about the driver. So if a passenger gives you three stars because of surge or because of traffic, Uber and Lyft should be willing to take that out of our average and stop firing drivers because of passengers who don’t understand how this rating system works.

Even if they did a great job of educating passengers, there would still be people that didn’t read the message, or didn’t get the memo and still think that four stars is a good rating or still think that they’re rating the service itself, rather than their individual driver. The ratings system is a pretty poor system, and it’s been pretty bad for a long time, and it’s high time that Uber and Lyft did something about it. Hopefully, Uber seems to be kind of re-evaluating it’s image lately, in light of recent events. Hopefully, this is one of the things that they’re re-evaluating.

Thank you so much for watching and reading. Take care and drive safe.

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