Uber to allow tipping for drivers, reversing long-standing policy

The ride-hailing behemoth announced that it will allow passengers to tip their drivers as part of a company-wide campaign called 180 Days of Change.

In the past, competitor Lyft has capitalized on the fact that Uber did not allow riders to tip within its app; Lyft has allowed tipping in its app for years.

The new tipping option was included in Uber's announcement of its '180 Days of Change for drivers', which the company said was "designed to meaningfully fix and improve the driving experience".


In addition to the tipping rule, Uber will also give drivers a smaller two-minute window to earn a cancellation fee, down from the five-minute buffer. It's all part of what Uber is calling a 180-day stretch of new updates and options to help make conditions better for its massive network of self-employed drivers. The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Uber's past usage of phony software created to thwart regulators.

More than 10,000 Uber drivers and thousands of Lyft drivers operate in Seattle, the companies say. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in April said it was planning to propose a rule no later than July that would require Uber to add a tipping feature to its app.

As a result of an extensive internal investigation by the U.S. Attorney General, Uber is reviewing a list of 47 recommendations to implement within the company. As users may have noticed, the previously mandatory-seeming rating screen, for riders rating drivers, is now optional and pushed to the bottom of the screen when you open the app for your next ride. The company, which has always avoided in-app tipping like the plague is now adding an option for the same within its main application. It's also allowing more drivers to designate the routes that they want to travel to keep them closer to a preferred destination. In a Medium post previous year, Uber explained its reasoning against tipping. Uber has long rejected the idea of tipping for numerous reasons.


While its change of heart has been welcome by most (certainly, its driver must be cheering), others were quick to assign ulterior motives to the company, whose business has been impacted by its abundance of poor publicity throughout 2017, at least in the U.S.

In early January, Uber accounted for 56.8 percent of all rides in the city, while Lyft had 9.5 percent.

A rider boycott in late January knocked Uber ridership down to 52.7 percent, while Lyft grew to a 12.8 percent share.



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