Safety is a common topic when people talk about ridesharing experiences. Most often the focus lies on driver behavior. Uber indicates, however, that drivers are more likely to be abused or assaulted by riders than the reverse, according to The Washington Post.
“The truth is that most of our safety incidents are abusive riders on drivers,” David Plouffe, Uber’s chief adviser. Uber didn’t provide statistics for bad-acting passengers, nor does the firm do so for problems with or complaints about drivers.
Uber riders and drivers rate each other on a 1 to 5-star scale after every ride via the rideshare company’s smartphone app. The company monitors ratings and, just as it can penalize drivers, it also deactivates riders on occasion. Again, no specific numbers are available from the company.
Uber spokesperson Brooke Anderson said that it’s not just about star ratings. Uber will also reach out at times to hear both sides to discover why someone received or gave a very low rating. In Washington D.C., for example, with more than 1 million riders and thousands of drivers, the average rating for all trips is 4.75. Trips with 1-star or 2-star ratings are “extremely low,” according to Anderson.
The Washington Post reported that Lyft, which also uses a 5-star rating system, never matches a driver or rider again if either gets a 3-star or lower rating. Lyft also said it takes “all user ratings and driver feedback very seriously.”
In New York City, the Independent Drivers Guild, the first labor organization for Uber drivers, represents 35,000 Uber drivers. The Guild has launched a driver safety committee and is “exploring the best way to share safety best practices for drivers, including possibly a course,” according to spokesperson Moira Muntz.
Uber continues to keep its focus on drivers and even contacts them in real-time if they are driving erratically. In addition, riders are able to share their route and their experience in real time with others.
For both riders and drivers, said Plouffe, “One incident is always one too many. We do our best to provide a [lot] of security.”