Uber riders in Australia and New Zealand whose rating on the app falls below four stars could be banned from the ride-hailing app for six months, the company announced this week. Uber drivers rate their passengers after a ride a is complete. The highest possible score is five stars.
The change is meant to help improve passenger behaviour, Susan Anderson, general director of Uber in Australia and New Zealand told news outlets. Anderson said examples of bad behavior include passengers not arriving at their pick-up spots on-time and choosing pick-up locations in unsafe areas.
Uber riders would typically have a rating under 4 stars if they had received multiple one-star reviews from drivers, said Anderson.
"These are the small percentage of riders who are persistently not treating drivers with respect," Anderson told the Australian news outlet, Channel Seven.
Another Uber spokesperson told BBC News that the company didn’t anticipate many of its riders would be banned and that there were only “a few thousand” passengers in Australia and New Zealand who have a sub-four-star rating.
More than 90% of passengers in the two countries had ratings over 4.5 stars, the company said.
"The vast majority of Uber riders in Australia and New Zealand have ratings that are higher than 4.5 out of 5 and we’re confident that this change won’t affect them," Nicky Preston, a representative for Uber in Australia and New Zealand told Business Insider.
There are roughly 2.8 million Uber users combined in the two countries.
The change is set to begin September 19, but passengers at risk will be issued several warnings to improve their ratings before getting kicked off the app, Preston said.
In a blog post on its Australian website, Uber listed some of the characteristics that might help passengers get a better rating. Most of these recommendations involve simple acts of common decency.
"Drivers tell us that what they look for in riders is mutual respect and for people to treat them with courtesy," said Anderson. "So say hello, say goodbye. You don't always need to be chatty, but be respectful."
The policy of removing poorly rated passengers from the app is not new to Uber. It implemented the same guidelines in Brazil earlier this year.
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