We’ve all had that Uber driver. The lady that had you clinging for dear life as she barreled through your neighborhood at 75 mph. Or the dude who refuses to give up his collection of petrified French Fries preserved in the back seat where you're sitting.
There are some heinous drivers out there, and their driver ratings usually reflect that.
But passengers can be just as atrocious as the drivers they hire. And just as Uber drivers have a rating, so do their customers. You can find your rating (if you don’t know it already) on your Uber app.
What does your rating say about you? Are you an Uber angel? Or are you regretting spilling your bro-tein shake on the way to the gym that one time, or feeling bad about slamming the hell out of the door every time you get out?
Either way, Javi Correoso, public affairs manager at Uber, has some insights on your rating – what it means and why it exists.
“Last year, we updated and communicated new community guidelines to both driver and riders,” said Correoso. “We did this in order to clearly articulate the behavior expected from both drivers and riders when using Uber. As part of these ground rules, for the first time we published a policy explaining why riders can lose access to Uber— just as we already do with drivers.”
That's right: You can be so bad at being chauffeured around town that Uber will stop taking your money. And even if your rating never hits rock bottom, some drivers will avoid taking fares with few stars. That can make getting picked up difficult, especially during crowded events like Art Basel, when practically the entire city is trying to get a ride.
So riders who want to stay in Uber's good graces have a few golden rules to follow. As you can imagine, respect in any Uber vehicle is a two-way street (pun totally intended).
“Some good tips include being respectful, caring for the vehicle and keeping it in good condition, and being safe while following the law,” said Correoso. “Drivers do more than just drive — they’re sharing their car, their space, their time, and even a bit of who they are with passengers. If everyone follows these ground rules, Uber can be a positive experience for everyone.”
From a corporate perspective, these tips and tricks make sense. On the ground in South Florida, driver Markley Medina has a few additional pieces of advice.
“Just engage with your drivers – ask them how Uber’s been going for them,” said Medina, who has been driving for Uber for over three years and has completed more than 4,000 local trips. “I almost always give my passengers five stars, with very few exceptions. Sometimes it’s frustrating when people make you wait outside for five or ten minutes before coming to meet you, though.”
Medina has a nearly perfect driver rating and is locally renowned for his tricked-out “Uber Me VIP” ride, chock-full of lights, lasers, big-time speakers, and even an inside fog machine. It’s hard not to have an absolute blast with Medina when he rolls up, but still, some people take things too far.
“I do remember this one passenger that I picked up who was really intoxicated,” said Medina. “I was going 60 or so on the highway and he threw up all over my front seat. He tried to open up the window, too, but it came back on me. It got inside my A/C vents and in my window cracks. It wasn’t cool and took a lot of cleaning… and I just had to give him a one [rating].”
While Uber does not disclose the average passenger rating, Medina says the ideal passenger rating before pickup is between a 4.7 and perfect 5.0. And while it can be nearly impossible to maintain a 5.0 rating, there are a rare few out there who do. One of them is 23-year-old Jasmine Lykins, a digital marketing professional who lives in Fort Lauderdale.
Lykins estimates she has taken more than 100 Uber trips over the years, between going out with her fiance at night, traveling while her car is being serviced, or simply exploring a new place or city.
So what are her tips for staying in Uber’s good graces?
"There's a sweet spot," said Lykins. "Be polite... not overly friendly and not cold. Know that the driver is sharing his/her personal space with you and treat the situation that way. If the driver wants to tell you all about his political leanings — I had one driver share his political views and personal faith with me on a very long 15-minute ride — just listen politely."
Lykins also echoes Medina's complaint about customers on "Miami time." "Be ready when the driver arrives. And last," she says, "don't eat in the car. I had a shared ride once where the fellow passenger was chowing down on whatever takeout they had just picked up, right next to me. I was hungry. He did not offer to share."
From conversation to respect to food, sharing is caring in the Uber world. If you don’t share a positive vibe or simply don’t care at all, your rating will pay the price.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.