Uber rival Heetch does away with driver ratings

17 Feb 2021

Image: Heetch

The French ride-hailing app believes relying on star ratings of performance is too subjective and not a fair reflection of actual service.

Heetch, a French ride-hailing app, has removed driver ratings from its service.

The Paris-based company has revamped the way passengers and drivers interact by implementing a ‘compliments’ feature, rather than stars. Chief executive Teddy Pellerin said the move is “a more human way to handle ride-hailing”.

According to the company, drivers and passengers giving each other ratings is too subjective and an antiquated system.

“Heetch doesn’t want people to be reduced to a grade. The drivers and passengers cannot be reduced to a number of stars.”

There are several variables that go into a driver rating. Some may be more objective like driving safely and following the rules of the road but others will vary from journey to journey, such as how chatty the driver was or whether they played music during the trip.

While star ratings have been a feature in everything from restaurant bookings to Amazon orders, they have been a source of tension with some ride-hailing services. Uber has restricted or banned drivers in the past for having low ratings, though some drivers have complained of being unable to determine why they have a low rating.

In the place of ratings, Heetch’s compliment feature allows users to remark on what they liked about the journey.

“After more than 300,000 trips, we observed more than 100,000 compliments given to more than 70pc of our partnered drivers,” the company said.

“The important thing to note is that this evolution won’t prevent reporting issues either with the driver or with the passenger. It will be possible through the ‘problem’ button on the application,” it added.

Heetch has been rejigging its focus over the years in the highly competitive ride hailing space. It raised $38m in 2019 and expanded into francophone markets in Africa such as Senegal and Cameroon.

Closer to home, the start-up faced a few regulatory headaches in France in 2018 over unlicensed drivers on the platform.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin