Just a couple of months after Uber introduced instant payouts for drivers, the company has now announced that drivers can now start paying bills directly with their 5 Star Ratings.
This is Uber’s attempt to address one of the biggest criticisms it has faced by its drivers — that there is no tipping allowed through the app.
Ashton Kutcher, one of Uber’s most high-profile investors, says the company’s no tipping policy is meant to end awkward human interactions and difficult value propositions.
“We just think that since we plan to replace drivers with robots anyway, that we shouldn’t condition riders to tip the driver. We want the transition to be as seamless as possible.”
He said of the new 5 Star Rating program, “It pays to be perfect.”
To qualify, drivers must maintain a 5 Star Rating for a full month, have an acceptance rate of 95%, and be logged into the app for at least 55 minutes out of every hour they operate. In return, they can present their 5 Star Rating to partner utility companies, health providers, and financial institutions.
Dave Allen is a full-time Uber driver who participated in the beta program and has said it was a life saver.
“I was making less and less as more people started driving, but now that I can just show my 5 Star Rating to the bank, I feel much better.” It’s a relief, he added, and now he can concentrate on putting all his effort into maintaining his 5 Star Rating.
“Yes, I’ve had to spend much more money on bottled water and tacos, but it’s whatever keeps the riders happy. Sometimes it hasn’t been that great, though. I had a pax puke in my car and I still give them a 5 Star Rating because it was near the end of the month and I couldn’t afford to lose out on my guarantee. Unfortunately, sometimes these drunkies don’t remember how big of jerks they were, but they always remember a bad rating!”
Riders have also become keenly aware of the power they now possess over drivers who may be trying to pay their bills with their 5 Stars Rating. Sandy Metcalf, an avid Uber user, says she’s noticed much better service since Uber implemented the new initiative.
“It used to be that you tip folks more if they went the extra mile, but today the extra mile is expected because there is just so much competition.
I won’t just give a 5 Star Rating to anyone, impress me! Seriously, it’s good for the drivers’ spirit. I have never seen one without a huge smile on their face since Uber rolled out the new 5 Star Rating program. Drivers are more creative now than they have ever been!”
It’s believed, thanks to high interest and pre-registrations, that the program will be very popular. However, the fine print notes that in order to be eligible, drivers will have to sign up with Uber’s growing list of participating partners including #UberBANK, #UberHealth and #UberLegal.
When asked if these were subsidiaries of Uber’s parent company, Uber representatives could not be reached for comment.
This post was published on April 1. 2016 as part of BOR’s annual observation of April Fools Day. Posts published on this date are satirical and in no way report actual events (except for how closely they resemble actual events).