During my last vacation, I used Uber for the first time and loved it! Before a conversation with friends, I didn't know there was a passenger score, and I'm surprised that my average rating is 3.0 stars. Nothing went wrong during my rides, but maybe I'm not privy to Uber etiquette. Can you share some tips for reaching a 5 star rating?

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I also love the convenience of rideshare services like Uber and Lyft – especially when traveling. When in the company of others, etiquette always comes into play, and with ride-sharing, you have the opportunity to rate one another's level of consideration during your ride. Anything less than 5 stars and your driver may be penalized. Likewise, your receiving less than a perfect score could result in longer waits for pickups – too low and you might find drivers hesitant to pick you up at all. Consider each Uber ride as a reminder for making a great first impression and watch your rating improve.

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing: How to Order Your Pickup

You'd never arrive to a lunch scheduled for Noon at 12:10pm, likewise don't make your Uber driver wait; order your pickup when ready to go. Making your driver wait can lower your rating before your ride begins. If the app says your driver is 5 minutes away or less, this is especially important, as that time can quickly diminish once headed directly towards your location. Should you find yourself running behind, send apologies to your driver via text, just as you would your lunch date.

Where's Waldo: Communicate Your Location Correctly

Don't rely heavily on the GPS function of the app. Uber doesn't have designated spaces for pickup, like taxi stands, so inputting your address is of importance. Identify a location that isn't confusing and allows you to enter the car safely – even if it means walking around the corner, so that your driver doesn't risk a traffic ticket or accident. You can always text your driver identifiers: "I'm wearing a red raincoat," as you would for any other first-time meeting. Introduce yourself to ensure you're entering the right car.

Last Things First: Leave Things Better Than You Arrived

Once the ride is completed, your driver will likely be picking up another passenger. Leave things better than you found them – no lingering scents or left behind personal items/trash. Uber doesn't require tips, but offering a gratuity will make you stand out (small as a couple of dollars cash) and that's always the goal when making a great first impression, even if all things preceding the end of ride haven't gone smoothly.

I've been diligent in following this Uber etiquette during my travels and have maintained a 5 star rating. Follow these tips and your star count should rise, as well. Safe travels! Erika Preval, Charm Etiquette (