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This is how Uber drivers are rating you

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Most people using Uber know they can rate their driver, but few know their drivers give passengers a rating too. This is how you can find yours.

Many riders use Uber often enough to know that at the end of a trip, one needs to rate their driver. What many riders don’t know, is that it’s a two-way street.

Uber implemented the five star rating system to ensure mutual respect between driver-partners and riders on the platform because, says Uber, it is deeply committed to the safety of both riders and driver-partners on the platform. The system assists riders when they have a concern with a trip but is also in place to assist driver-partners should they encounter issues of their own, or even in the worst case, a difficult rider.

The five star rating system is therefore twofold: riders rate their driver-partners and they in turn rate their riders after a trip has come to an end. Riders can check their rating on the app by going to the Menu > Help > Account and Payment > Account Setting and Rating > I’d like to know my rating. The feedback system allows both parties to provide feedback in order to keep standards up and address any issues along the way.

However, these five stars mean more to a driver-partner than just a thumbs up or some constructive criticism – these stars accumulate to reflect the overall service levels of a driver-partner. So when you give a driver-partner one star, that impacts not just that one trip, but the overall rating the driver-partner has.

Should a driver-partner’s rating drop below average they are asked to go to Uber’s office so the team can provide the driver with some tailored feedback to improve their service for their customers. If ratings do not improve, the driver-partner may have his access to the platform deactivated indefinitely. Furthermore, should Uber receive worrying feedback from a rider, the driver-partner has his account deactivated until the issue has been resolved.

The star rating also affects the driver-partner’s future opportunities on the Uber platform. Last year, Uber and WesBank launched a vehicle solutions programme that offers existing driver-partners access to a specially designed full maintenance lease programme from WesBank, enabling them to gain access to a vehicle at preferential rates, with a view to establishing their own passenger transport business in partnership and with the help of Uber’s technology. The programme is not based on credit ratings, but rather eligibility is determined by WesBank based on their established earnings and quality record with Uber. Rider feedback and star ratings are considered for the quality record.

Therefore the star rating is more than just a way to tell a driver-partner’s how much a rider liked their service, or if they were a little slow to get to a destination. Next time you rate your trip, consider what your rating means to your driver-partner before clicking on those stars.

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Low-cost wireless sport earphones get a kickstart

Wireless earphone brands are common, but not crowdfunded brands. BRYAN TURNER takes the K Sport Wireless for a run.

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As wireless technology becomes better, Bluetooth earphones have become popular in the consumer market. KuaiFit aspires to make them even more accessible to more people through a cheaper, quality product, by selling the K Sport Wireless Earphones directly from its Kickstarter page

KuaiFit has an app by the same name which offers voice-guided personal training services in almost every type of exercise, from cardio to weight-lifting. A vast range of connectivity to third-party sensors is available, like heart rate sensors and GPS devices, which work well with guided coaching. 

The app starts off with selecting a fitness level: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Thereafter, one has the ability to connect with real personal trainers via a subscription to its paid service. The subscription comes free for 6 months with the earphones, and R30 per month thereafter. 

The box includes a manual, a USB to two USB Type B connectors, different sized soft plastic eartips and the two earphone units. Each earphone is wireless and connects to the other independently of wires. This puts the K Sport Wireless in the realm of the Apple Earpods in terms of connection style. 

The earphones are just over 2cm wide and 2cm high. The set is black with a light blue KuaiFit logo on the earphone’s button. 

The button functions as an on/off switch when long-pressed and a play/pause button when quick-pressed. The dual-button set-up is convenient in everyday use, allowing for playback control depending on which hand is free. Two connectivity modes are available, single earphone mode or dual earphone mode. The dual earphone mode intelligently connects the second earphone and syncs stereo audio a few seconds after powering on. 

In terms of connectivity, the earphones are Bluetooth 4.1 with a massive 10-meter range, provided there are no obstacles between the device and the earphones. While it’s not Bluetooth 5, it still falls into the Bluetooth Low Energy connection category, meaning that the smartphone’s battery won’t be drastically affected by a consistent connection to the earphones. The batteries within the earphones aren’t specifically listed but last anywhere between 3 and 6 hours, depending on the mode. 

Audio quality is surprisingly good for earphones at this price point. The headset style is restricted to in-ear due to its small design and probable usage in movement-intensive activities. As a result, one has to be very careful how one puts these earphones, in because bass has the potential of getting reduced from an incorrect in-ear placement. In-ear earphones are usually notorious for ear discomfort and suction pain after extended usage. These earphones are one of the very few in this price range that are comfortable and don’t cause discomfort. The good quality of the soft plastic ear tip is definitely a factor in the high level of comfort of the in-ear earphone experience.

Overall, the K Sport Wireless earphones are great considering the sound quality and the low price: US$30 on Kickstarter.

Find them on Kickstarter here.

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Taxify enters Google Maps

A recent update to Taxify now uses Google Maps which allows users to identify their drivers, find public transport and search for billing options.

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People planning their travel routes using Google Maps will now see a Taxify icon in the app, in addition to the familiar car, public transport, walking and billing options.

Taxify started operating in South Africa in 2016 and as of October 2018 operates in seven South African cities – Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Polokwane.

Once riders have searched for their destination and asked the app for directions, Google Maps shares the proximity of cars on the Taxify platform, as well as an estimated fare for the trip.

If users see that taking the Taxify option is their best bet, they can simply tap on the ‘Open app’ icon, to complete the process of booking the ride. Customers without the app on their device will be prompted to install Taxify first.

This integration makes it possible for users to evaluate which of the private, public or e-hailing modes of transport are most time-efficient and cost-effective.

“This integration with Google Maps makes it so much easier for users to choose the best way to move around their city,” says Gareth Taylor, Taxify’s country manager for South Africa. “They’ll have quick comparisons between estimated arrival times for the different modes of transport, as well as fares they can expect to pay, which will help save both time and money,” he added.

Taxify rides in Google Maps are rolling out globally today and will be available in more than 15 countries, with South Africa being one of the first countries to benefit from this convenient service.

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