Uber Adds Driver Tipping As The Rest Of The Company Falls Apart

The feature is being rolled out in three cities first - Houston, Minneapolis and Seattle - but will be available to all US drivers by the end of July, the company said in an e-mail to drivers.

Uber officials announced that passengers will be able to tip their driver through the company's app, joining rival ride share company Lyft, which has offered the option for several years.

Other changes include paying drivers if their rider cancels after 2 minutes or more, and paying drivers who have to wait more than 2 minutes for their rider.

While Uber settled in April of previous 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.

That said, tipping is also ubiquitous within the for-hire rides industry. Starting today, Uber is embarking on an initiative entitled "180 days of change" (get it?) and the company's first step to moving onward and upward is to introduce tipping in select cities.

The in-app tipping option is now available in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston, Uber said in an email sent to drivers Tuesday morning and later posted on the company's website.

Moreover, Uber sought to undermine the very notion of tipping.

The company is now reeling from multiple scandals, including those involving rampant sexual harassment, as well as the departure of numerous executives, including founder and CEO Travis Kalanick, who took a leave of absence earlier this month.

Technology giant Uber has unveiled a series of changes to the way it pays its drivers, including charging customers for leaving their Uber driver waiting at the pick-up point.

Historically, Uber has had a tough time retaining its drivers, as they are paid, on average, just above minimum wage and, as independent contractors, don't have benefits or many traditional worker protections.

"To help drivers make the most of their time, we're reducing the cancellation window". As Lewis wrote at the time, the "more discretion you have in the matter [of tipping] the more unpleasant it is". Tech Crunch reports that Uber is trying to climb out of the rubble of bad press it's created for itself by extending "an olive branch" to drivers and customers alike. "They're making it so much more driver friendly".

As part of its penance, Uber emailed a letter to riders in New York City last week apologizing for its missteps.

  • Larry Hoffman