So she was shocked when she found out that she had a terrible Uber passenger rating.
“[My driver] told me that I must have pissed off a few people,” says Misitzis, a radio producer based in Greenwood Heights. “[But] I’m never rude.”
Uber passengers have long been able to see their drivers’ ratings, but since March, a new feature lets customers see how their chauffeurs score them. Many have been shocked to learn that they rate poorly.
“I was really surprised,” says Misitzis, whose rating is a 4.5 out of 5.
Uber wouldn’t provide information about average ratings, but driver Harry Campbell, 29, says that most riders are a 4.8 — and anything below a 4.6 signals a problematic passenger. For comparison, Campbell, who’s worked for Uber for 2 ¹/₂ years, says that drivers who rate below a 4.5 after 50 rides are dismissed or suspended.
Many riders don’t even realize what they’re doing that is bringing down their rating. In hindsight, Misitzis suspects that her score may have been lowered when she asked an Uber driver to open the window because the car smelled bad, or ordered rides for other people as part of her job.
Keegan Bales, a 28-year-old account executive, says she was mortified when she found out in June that she was a 4.3.
“I’d be lying if I said my score didn’t make me question my likability as a person,” says Bales, who splits her time between Long Island and Washington, DC. “I’ve never ridden in an Uber drunk, eaten or drank in an Uber, or tried to bring a dog.”
But Bales admits that she has made some drivers wait a few minutes for her and got dinged.
Recently, she’s made efforts to be a better passenger and is now a 4.56. “I was, like, super-conscientious,” Bales says.
Those with high ratings boast about them on Instagram and at parties, but driver Campbell says it’s about more than bragging rights. It means being able to quickly get a ride.
“When it’s peak time, and I see a passenger request with a 4.2, I’ll ignore their request ’cause in 30 seconds I can find someone else,” says Campbell, who runs a blog for drivers, TheRideShareGuy.com. “But if I’m in the middle of nowhere, drivers will take whatever [passengers] they can get.”
The most common reasons drivers dock passengers, he says, are being late, acting belligerent, eating in the back seat, and dictating directions. He also recommends that riders manually enter their pickup address instead of relying on the app’s GPS to make sure drivers know exactly where to go. And, while he doesn’t expect a gratuity, Campbell says he’s heard of some drivers who give lower ratings if passengers don’t offer cash tips.
‘The most common reasons drivers dock passengers, he says, are being late, acting belligerent, eating in the back seat, and dictating directions.’
But even smaller infractions can impact your score. Tiffany Potenciano, 26, a production assistant from Crown Heights, takes Uber up to five times a week and has a 4.5 score. She says that she usually smokes while waiting to be picked up and suspects her smoky stench has brought her down.
Nicholas Carey-Sheppard, 30, has a 4.53 rating, and blames his impatience.
“I have a habit of calling an Uber and canceling it if I see a taxi,” says the marketing content manager, who lives in Carroll Gardens. (Campbell confirms that cancellations can affect your rating.)
Others say it’s not them but their offspring. Ella Leitner attributes her 4.4 rating to her two kids.
“I don’t think drivers are happy listening to two young children fight in the back seat of a car,” says Leitner, 43, who works in education and lives on the Lower East Side.
But, some New Yorkers are choosing not to fret.
“I have better things to worry about than my Uber rating,” says Misitzis. “It doesn’t mean much.