NYC Uber drivers could soon start getting tips

Posted April 18, 2017

New York City's taxi and black vehicle regulator plans to require Uber Technologies to add a tipping feature to its app by July. That said, other respondents still tip what they want regardless of suggested tip amounts or the presence of a "no tip" option.

"This rule proposal will be an important first step to improve earning potential in the For-Hire Vehicle industry, but it is just one piece of a more comprehensive effort to improve the economic well-being of drivers", said Meera Joshi, the TLC commissioner, in a statement.

Uber may have had good reason-at least from the company's perspective-to oppose adding a tipping feature and interrupting the seamless passenger experience that has helped make the service so popular. Drivers for companies that take only cash could continue to accept cash tips. The petition was created by the Independent Drivers Guild, a group representing Uber drivers in NY, and it got over 11,000 signatures, though it still is about 1,800 away from its goal of 12,800. E-hail drivers often drive for multiple platforms, and incur an array of expenses that aren't factored into their take-home pay, making uniform salary measures tough to come by.

The association, which claims to represent over one lakh app-based taxi drivers in the national capital region, has also been demanding a rollback of the 25 per cent commission drivers are charged by companies like Ola and Uber.

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Once the commission officially proposes the change, it must be certified by the city's law department and subjected to public comment. Uber customers, meanwhile, face the pain of whether to tip. NY officials are trying to force the ride-sharing app to include a tipping option after a petition was signed by 11,000 drivers.

Uber says it looks forward to reviewing the proposal and improving their drivers' work conditions.

The IDG based its tip-revenue projections on the fact that nearly all taxi passengers tip, and most tip 20%. The full proposal is expected to be introduced in a few months. The interface wouldn't ask you to tip immediately after a ride, but rather users would have to manually select find their last ride. Some 41% of respondents say close proximity to the server/cashier while entering a tip amount would make them more likely to tip, the 2015 Software Advice study found. Lyft has a smaller market share but is the preferred service of many drivers because it allows tipping through the smartphone app. Lyft said in March that its drivers have earned more than $200 million in tips since the company's founding. "The exploitation of ride-hailing drivers must end, and this is an important first step", he said.