Today, Uber announced that it is rolling out in-app tipping in three major US markets, with the rest of the country to follow by the end of July — thereby addressing one of drivers’ biggest and longest-standing complaints with the ride-hail giant.
Uber drivers and their advocates have long pushed for in-app tipping. The Independent Drivers Guild, a non-union worker body backed by Uber and affiliated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, found in a survey last year that the lack of in-app tipping was drivers’ top concern.
While Uber’s app didn’t allow riders to tip, the company had said riders were welcome to tip in cash. As part of a lawsuit settlement earlier this year, Uber agreed to clarify its tipping policy by allowing drivers to place signs in their cars noting that tips are not included in the app’s fares.
Lyft, Uber’s biggest competitor in the US, already offers the option to tip drivers through its app. Riders are prompted to rate their trips as well as add a tip after Lyft rides end. The company has attempted to highlight this distinction in national ads, poking at an Uber-like company for not allowing in-app tipping. Lyft said on Monday that drivers had amassed more than $250 million to date in tips, and announced passengers would begin seeing new prompts to encourage more tipping.
In April, regulators in New York City said they planned to begin writing a rule that would require the ride-hail giant to offer an in-app tipping option.
BuzzFeed News reported last year that in three major US markets — Denver, Detroit, and Houston — Uber drivers earned less than $13.25 an hour after expenses in late 2015. Earlier this year, the company paid the Federal Trade Commission $20 million to settle claims that it misled drivers about pay. The ride-hail giant claimed drivers in New York made more than $90,000 a year, but the agency found the median income of drivers there is $29,000 less than that.
Priya Anand is a tech and transportation reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Priya Anand at [email protected].
Caroline O’Donovan is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Caroline O’Donovan at [email protected].
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