Uber adds option to tip drivers as it heads in new direction

While building the world's biggest ride-hailing service over the past eight years, Uber also developed a reputation for cutthroat tactics that have occasionally outraged government regulators, its drivers, its riders and even its own employees.

In a statement to the Times, Kalanick said, "I love Uber more than anything in the world and at this hard moment in my personal life I have accepted the investors request to step aside so that Uber can go back to building rather than be distracted with another fight".

Uber won't take any of the tip money.

"Why are all the Lyft drivers so happy?" asks the executive at Uber - ahem, sorry, I mean Ride Corp. He will remain on the board of directors.

The company's founder Travis Kalanick stepped down as chief executive following a series of scandals on Wednesday.

An Uber spokesman declined to say why the company reversed its tipping policy, though he pointed to a company blog post that called the change "long overdue". After an internal investigation uncovered multiple instances of sexual harassment, bullying and other boorish behavior within the company, Uber fired more than 20 employees and pledged to create a more harmonious culture for its employees.

Camp said that while all companies have growing pains, Uber's were "much more serious" because of how fast the company grew.

But the shareholder letter indicated that his taking time off was not enough for some investors who have pumped millions of dollars into the ride-hailing company, which has seen its valuation swell to almost $70 billion. Venture capital firm Benchmark, whose partner Bill Gurley is one of Uber's largest shareholders and sits on its board, plus investors First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures and Fidelity Investments, all pressed Kalanick to quit.

San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc had for years opposed adding a tipping feature to its app despite drivers' arguments the extra money would help compensate for decreasing wages. Because some of the investors hold a type of stock that endows them with an outsize number of votes, they have about 40 percent of Uber's voting power.

There are a couple of key reasons that Uber may be trying to change. The privately held company is valued by investors at US$68bil (RM291.6bil). There's also the option for Driver Injury Protection Insurance, the costs of which will be offset by a slightly higher per-mile rate, for added protection against personal or financial injury while on the job.

  • Zachary Reyes