Weekly Round-Up: Are Customer Ratings Useless?

This time in our weekly round-up, customers are able to hand out 5 stars for mediocre service, as well as throw drivers under the bus for personal vendettas instead of actual issues with the rides. It begs the question, do we need customer ratings? Are they helpful or are they useless?

Also, Uber is pushing for drivers to make “greener” decisions to help them meet their lofty goals. Meanwhile, Lyft is refocusing, putting green initiatives in the backseat.

Customer Ratings Have Become Meaningless. ‘People Hand Out 5 Stars Like It’s Candy.’


Mike Johnson has endured some awkward Uber rides. He once held his nose throughout a trip because the driver was carrying chopped-up Durian—the world’s smelliest fruit. Another time, he was stuck in the back seat while a driver bickered with her boyfriend. Yet another driver tried to sell him a Ponzi scheme.

He rated each one 5 out of 5 stars.

“I mean, they all seemed like nice people. I didn’t want them to be kicked off the app over my bad rating,” the 33-year-old New Yorker said. “Isn’t 5 stars, like, the norm?”

Apps introduced ratings to reward high performers and help users make better choices. Instead, ratings have become almost meaningless on some of them….

My Take

Maybe I’ve been doing ratings wrong, but I do give 5 stars to basically everybody unless I felt unsafe or there were serious issues that needed to be addressed in some way.

I remember the first two weeks I was driving for Uber, I got 5 stars across the board, and then I got my first 3-star rating. It felt out of the blue because I had given consistently good service (in my opinion) to each rider I had.

The worst part for me was that with the 3-star rating, there was zero feedback telling me why. I had no way of improving on whatever they felt had gone wrong.

If we are going to keep customer ratings, we need to get actual feedback for less than 5 stars so we know what to do better or can refute it (if the argument is a messy vehicle when it’s actually sparkling clean, speeding if you hadn’t been, etc.).

I have had drivers that I have rated poorly. And I have left feedback, hoping they would see it and learn from it. If the rating is just going to be there without actual feedback on performance, then they are completely useless, in my opinion.

But don’t encourage riders to leave a poor review when there weren’t actual issues with the ride. Every experience is going to be different.

NYC Council bill would require Uber, Lyft to give reason, advance notice to rideshare drivers before banning them from apps


A bill expected to be introduced before the City Council on Thursday would protect Uber and Lyft drivers from being unfairly removed from the rideshare companies’ rosters.

The legislation, to be put forward by Council Member Shekar Krishnan (D-Queens), would prohibit rideshare companies from banning drivers from the app without just cause or advance warning.

“My district has the largest population of driver residents,” said Krishnan, who represents Jackson Heights and Elmhurst. “Their top concern is this issue.”

“Our drivers are some of the most essential workers in our city,” he added….

My Take

Yes, please! This should be across the board, not just in New York.

I’ve heard of too many drivers being banned from the app with no notice, no chance for rebuttal, and no research into the accusations against them. Permanent bans, crippling people’s livelihood.

A lot of times, Uber and Lyft simply do not provide a reason outside of saying “violated code of conduct” or “violated terms of service” without specifying how and without giving any chances for refuting it, which is ridiculous.

Some people don’t even make it onto the app in the first place due to background check issues that may or may not be legitimate.

If you’ve been deactivated due to a background check issue that you think was unfair, check out our post on Dealing with Unfair Deactivations to see what you can do about it.

Sergio also recently interviewed a driver who was unfairly deactivated, he sued and won! Check it out here!

Uber wants to rent out your car: Company set to launch Uber Carshare in Boston, Toronto


Uber can coordinate your ride home or make your favorite fast food appear at your doorstep. Now, the ride-hailing firm wants to offer drivers a way to rent a car from their neighbor.

Uber is set to bring Uber Carshare to Boston and Toronto in the coming months. The product, which was initially launched in Australia, allows people to borrow vehicles from private car owners for a set amount of hours or days.

Carshare’s expansion into the U.S. was one of the new features announced Thursday at Go-Get Zero, a sustainability product event in London that focuses on how Uber is working to fulfill its goal of becoming a zero-emissions platform by 2040.

Uber has not yet announced when its carshare product will be made available in Boston and Toronto, but said launch dates and additional details will be revealed at a later date….

My Take

Not surprising this is the direction they are going. Didn’t Tesla say they were rolling out something like this before the pandemic happened? I’m curious to see how this will differ from other car rental services like Turo or HyreCar.

The next question is will people want to rent out their cars to their “neighbors”? I did HyreCar for a while, meaning I let a stranger drive my car. It was nerve-wracking for me. I did not enjoy not knowing what was happening with that vehicle at all times.

The driver got a parking ticket that came to me because it was mailed instead of put on the vehicle. The person using my car tried fighting it until I had enough evidence to prove it was only during a time period when he had sole access to the vehicle.

Granted, there have been times when I wish I was closer to my neighbor, close enough with them to ask to borrow their truck to pick up new furniture and other similar things. If this is cheaper than renting from the hardware store or Uhaul, this could be a worthwhile option for those 4-6 hour instances where you could use a different vehicle for a bit.

We’ll see if it really takes off or if it falls flat.

Lyft’s Green Efforts Take a Backseat in Push to Keep Up With Uber


Lyft Inc.’s founding mission hinged on making transportation more environmentally friendly. But the ride-hailing company’s sustainability efforts have been dealt a setback as new Chief Executive Officer David Risher prioritizes slashing costs in a bid to keep up with Uber Technologies Inc.

Within a week of Risher’s arrival in April, he let go of about a quarter of the staff, including head of sustainability Paul Augustine. A month later, Lyft said it was officially discontinuing pooled rides, one of its hallmark features, opting to focus on making rides cheaper with other features instead.

The paring back of Lyft’s green efforts coincides with an even bigger push toward sustainability by Uber, which pledged on Thursday to eliminate emissions and “unnecessary” plastic waste from its delivery business by 2040, bringing it in line with its ride-hailing arm….

My Take

Once more Lyft is in the spotlight, and not necessarily in a good way. Their green initiative has been a high-priority focus of Lyft and Uber for the past several years. But now, Lyft is without its head of sustainability in their latest round of layoffs.

All of this is in the name of “keeping up with Uber.” It’s like Lyft has a “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality and they are likely going to end up shooting themselves in the foot.

No matter what, Lyft has always had a gap in market share when compared to Uber. That gap is growing rapidly and making these money-first changes is not going to help their image among investors, riders, or drivers anytime soon.

Lyft is trying to keep up with Uber while Uber is ever-expanding their services and their efforts.

Uber needs you to make greener choices so it can go carbon neutral by 2030


Uber is introducing a host of new product features aimed at steering its customers toward greener choices. The product features, which were unveiled at an event in London today, are also intended to boost the company’s chances of reaching its sustainability goals, which have it going completely carbon neutral in North America and Europe by 2030 and in all global markets by 2040.

Some of the new products are not ready for a global rollout, but the overall aim is to use its platform to encourage riders and drivers to make more environmentally friendly decisions — even if the vast majority of Uber’s business relies on gas-guzzling vehicles. Some of that involves subtle nudges, like new emissions notifications or improved routing, while others will entail more pressure, such as squeezing cooperation out of partners (drivers, restaurants, etc.) that don’t technically work for Uber….

My Take

Speaking of Uber making greater strides, this is a perfect example of what Uber is doing to move their wants forward while leaving Lyft in their dust.

Granted, this does heavily rely on drivers and passengers making “greener” choices, they are proving that sustainability and being “green” is still a top priority.

What they definitely need to continue doing, and possibly ramp up, is incentives. People are a lot more likely to change their ways if there is a decent incentive to do so. No one likes change. So, companies like Uber need to make the change that they want to be as palatable as possible.