Uber to Ban Passengers With Low Ratings: 'Respect is a Two-Way Street'

An Uber sign is displayed as traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) before the Opening Bell at the NYSE as the ride-hailing company Uber makes its highly anticipated initial public offering (IPO) on May 10, 2019 in New York City. Uber has recently announced plans to ban passengers with low ratings. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Uber, an American multinational transportation network company, has moved to ban passengers with low ratings from using their ride-sharing and hailing app.

The company announced on Tuesday that riders with "significantly below average" ratings could face losing access to Uber's services. Previously, only drivers with low ratings were at risk of being dropped by the app, which has resulted in customers being able to influence the ones who are able to remain working.

"Respect is a two-way street, and so is accountability. Drivers have long been expected to meet a minimum rating threshold which can vary city to city," Kate Parker, the company's head of Safety Brand and Initiatives, said in a statement. "While we expect only a small number of riders to ultimately be impacted by ratings-based deactivations, it's the right thing to do."

The new policy will be first rolled out across the U.S. and Canada. It is unclear whether Uber has plans to expand the rule globally if successful.

If a rider's rating falls below the minimum threshold, they will "receive tips on how to improve their ratings, such an encouraging polite behavior, avoiding leaving trash in the vehicle and avoiding requests for drivers to exceed the speed limit," Parker explained. "Riders will have several opportunities to improve their rating prior to losing access to the Uber apps."

Once a passenger is removed from the app, the ban will last for an indefinite period of time.

All users who sign up for an Uber account is required to follow the company's Community Guidelines, which includes three standards of behavior: Treating everyone with respect, help to keep one another safe and following the law.

Parker announced on Tuesday that Uber will be launching a campaign to educate both drivers and riders about these guidelines.

"We want every Uber experience to be a great one," she said. "By educating customers and partners about the Community Guidelines, asking them to confirm they understand, and holding everyone accountable, we can help Uber be welcoming and safe for all."

According to Business Insider, Uber's San Francisco office sent a document to all its drivers, also called "partners," in 2014 setting out the minimum average rating and how those teetering on the edge could boost their ratings. The guide listed 4.6 out of 5 as the threshold for drivers to meet. Any with average ratings below that figure would be at risk of being kicked off the platform.

"Deactivating the accounts of the drivers who provide consistently poor experiences ensures that Uber continues to be known for quality," the document said, adding that only two to three percent of partners in the area were in danger of falling below 4.6.