Tipping is a confusing issue when it comes to ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft in New York City. Drivers are allowed to accept cash tips, but they aren’t allowed to ask for them. What’s more, the Lyft app includes the ability to put that tip on your credit card, but Uber’s app is still tip-less. That will change later this year, as NYC will require Uber to include tipping on its mobile platform.
This afternoon, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission agreed to write a rule that would require ride-hailing services that operate in NYC to include the ability to tip directly from their respective apps.
The decision came about following a campaign by the Independent Drivers Group, which is not a union but is affiliated with the union that represents livery drivers in NYC.
When Uber launched, one of its purported innovations was that there is “no need to tip,” but after the company dropped fares and restructured the way drivers are paid, a number of drivers began to cry foul — especially since Lyft and Juno, another competitor, allow in-app tipping.
“[Uber] led riders and drivers alike to believe that the fares would cover the gratuities that always made up a big part of driver pay, but that’s not what happened,” Luiny Tavares, an IDG member and driver who quit his dispatcher job to work for Uber, told reporters today. “In the years that followed, pay cuts stacked up and I found myself having to work longer hours away from my family to make the same money I did when I started.”
Today’s victory means that the TLC has agreed to write a rule, which will have to be written, submitted to the public for comments, and ultimately voted on by the commission. The earliest that in-app tipping could be available will be this summer.
In a statement, Uber didn’t say that it plans to oppose the rule. A spokesperson sent this statement on the proposal to Consumerist:
“We have not seen the proposal and look forward to reviewing it. Uber is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers and we are constantly working to improve the driver experience. That’s why, in New York City, we partnered with the Machinists Union to make sure current and future Uber NYC drivers have a stronger voice and launched a series of new tools and support policies for drivers.”