Uber customers all over the United States will soon be able to tip their drivers, as the company moves to overhaul its ride-hailing service after a flurry of scandals and controversies.
The new feature is part of what Uber calls "180 Days of Change," is a series of initiatives that will grant drivers what they have requested for from the service.
Uber Adds Tipping Option To App
Earlier this year, it was rumored that a tipping option will be offered to Uber riders in New York City as soon as the New York Taxi and Limousine Commission considered a proposal to add the feature in the ride-hailing app. While its rivals have implemented a tipping feature, Uber has resisted adding it to its app due to concerns that it will slow down the transactions between drivers and customers.
The resistance has now ended, with Uber adding tipping options for customers in Houston, Minneapolis, and Seattle. The feature will be expanded to other locations in the country over the next few weeks, with the goal of making it available across the United States by the end of July.
To receive tips, drivers will first have to agree to the feature, which is similar to how it works for Uber's rival services such as Lyft. After a ride is completed, riders will be shown the "rate driver" screen, but with the added option of tapping on an amount to grant a tip to the driver. The amounts are $1, $3, $5, and a custom amount, and riders can tip their drivers even 30 days after the trip.
Riders should not worry about receiving negative passenger ratings if they do not leave tips though, as Uber's system will now allow drivers to do so. It will likely work like the tipping system of Lyft, with drivers only finding out the tip that they received after rating the rider.
"Today's tipping announcement is an important win for drivers and proves that thousands of drivers coming together with one voice can make big changes," said Independent Drivers Guild founder Jim Conigliaro Jr., who added that the cuts to driver pay in the ride-hailing industry have made tips more important than ever.
Uber's 180 Days Of Change
"Why now? Because it's the right thing to do, it's long overdue, and there's no time like the present," Uber said in a press release that announced the 180 Days of Change.
In addition to driver tips, Uber has made Driver Destination Trips count toward promotions and available to all U.S. drivers, added $2 to the base fare for trips requested by teen accounts, and added a per-minute fee for drivers waiting over two minutes for riders to arrive. Uber has also reduced the time for a cancellation fee to kick in from five minutes to two minutes, and started offering a Driver Injury Protection insurance program.
The moves come amid a wave of problems that have plagued Uber, with the two most recent updates being the leave of absence taken by CEO Travis Kalanick due to the company's scandals and the resignation of Uber board member David Bonderman after making a sexist joke in a meeting to address sexism.