I used to use Uber about twice a year, at other times I’m a huge public transportation fan. The change to require tipping to get a 5 star rating (because people respond to incentives) is a complete surprise to me.
In essence, Uber didn’t learn anything about setting (and appropriately notifying the public about changing) their tipping expectations. As the most likely source of my surprising and only less than 5 star rating several months ago (the driver never told me either), I now don’t see any value in Uber over the tried and true taxi system, where it is well known tipping is expected, and even very clearly visible on both the airport receipts and cab windows that tips are not included (and thus expected in the US, unless say the cab is really dirty or smelly). Further it’s far less likely to be able to come back and haunt you Black Mirror style. It doesn’t look like the average person gets to have a say in that either.
The sad part is eBay has known this forever, as a seller it’s not even possible to leave a negative or neutral feedback rating for a buyer. Uber’s sneaky change and failure to learn the lessons of history has cost it a customer permanently.
What’s particularly sad to me is that it could be a simple monetisation route to keep everyone explicitly happy – as a customer, pay us 20% more on the fare for each star rating bump, at least half goes to the driver. Because reputation can matter, and people (including cab drivers) do matter.
P.S. That says nothing about allegations of sexual harassment leading to mass firings, it sounds like they have a lot of work to do.