Uber drivers (and riders) need to maintain a high rating to keep using the app, but bad actors can pull that score down. Some may even give a driver or courier a poor rating for a perfectly fine ride or food delivery just so they can get a refund. Uber says it's doing more to tackle that problem and to make the platform fairer and safer for riders and couriers.
The company says it has established new systems to pinpoint users who make complaints solely in an effort to get a refund or other appeasement. Uber says any allegations that these flagged users make will not impact a driver's rating or play a factor in account deactivation decisions. The company notes that this builds on a policy it's had since 2017 to discard low ratings for issues that are outside of a driver's or courier's control, such as heavy traffic.
Elsewhere, drivers and couriers will receive clearer information as to why Uber deactivated their account. They'll be able to ask Uber to review the decision and include any details that may help their case, such as video or audio recordings. In addition, drivers in the US who have been accused of operating their vehicle under the influence of drugs will have the option of taking a test to prove their innocence. Uber will cover the cost of the drug test.
These are part of a number of measures Uber is bringing in to make the platform safer and fairer for drivers. For one thing, the company is expanding its Record My Ride feature to more cities in the US. Drivers in more locations will be able to use their iPhone's front-facing camera to capture video of their trips. As with the audio recording feature that's now available nationwide, no one will have access to an encrypted video capture unless a driver sends it to Uber for review.
In another safety-oriented update, Uber says that in 2024 it will "significantly expand verification of rider identities to compare rider account details against trusted data sources or an ID document." Eventually, it will start informing drivers whether the rider they're set to pick up is verified. The idea is to give drivers more peace of mind before they accept a trip.
Other updates Uber has announced include Android Auto integration so the Uber Driver app can be accessed on a larger screen. That builds on previous CarPlay integration.
Drivers will soon be able to share real-time traffic and route information that other drivers can access, while information on roadworks, crashes and lane closures that are sourced from TomTom are automatically factored into Uber's suggested routes. Meanwhile, couriers can now see if there's free parking close to their destination and they can access more information about their drop-off point, including photos of the building or door.