Uber might be forced to add a tipping option

Posted April 18, 2017

If Uber is forced to adopt tipping in its two most important USA markets, it wouldn't make much sense to refuse to do so elsewhere. And there's no way to tip in the Uber app - part of its whole pitch for years has been that the tip is just magically worked into the price of the ride. Uber drivers have been asking for a tipping option for years.

Uber has never shied away from a fight with policymakers, and its sanguine response to the proposed tipping rules points toward a shift in its thinking.

Meanwhile, Lyft allows riders to tip, as do other taxi and vehicle service apps, and we haven't seen any evidence that it's led to rampant racism.

You may soon need to tip your Uber driver. As it stands, the only option passengers have when it comes to tipping is to offer cash, something people are carrying less of these days.

More importantly, Uber also agreed to a number of concessions, including new specific policies created to give drivers greater transparency about what keeps them in good standing and what could boot them off the platform. As we've explained previously, the living wage in NY for a family with two children and two working adults is $19.01 an hour. As my colleague Sean O'Kane correctly notes, Uber chose to cap surge pricing during emergencies nationwide in 2014 after NY first forced the ride-hail to adopt the policy.

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Lyft, Uber's biggest competitor in the USA, already offers passengers the option to tip drivers through its app.

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has made a decision to move ahead with a proposal that could (if implemented) force cab aggregators to offer options for tipping, regardless o the kind of payment they accept. Drivers and passengers will get a chance have a say at a public hearing.

While Uber settled in April of past year, in order for drivers to remain independent contractors, the company was forced to pay out $84 million to the approximately 385,000 drivers represented in the suit. Worker advocates continue to push for policies that would require Uber to treat its drivers as employees, rather than independent contractors. Cabbies regularly receive tips through their credit card readers ― a feature also mandated by the city's taxi commission.

Reacting to the call for protest, Uber said in a statement that this time, the drivers can not obstruct others who are willing to come on duty.

An Uber spokesperson said the company had not yet seen the TLC's proposal but looked forward to reviewing it. "Uber is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers, and we are constantly working to improve the driver experience", the spokesperson said in an email.