Uber Finally Listens to Its Drivers and Adds a Tipping Feature to Its App

Uber tipping
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The people have spoken, and Uber is finally responding.

After years of Uber drivers demanding asking for a tipping platform within the Uber app, the ride-hailing company has announced plans to roll out a tipping feature.

The tipping feature is already available in Houston, Minneapolis and Seattle. Over the next few weeks, Uber will add more cities to the list, aiming to make tipping available to all U.S. drivers by the end of July 2017.

Why Include an Uber Tipping Feature Now?

After some recent shake-ups in the company, Uber launched a new campaign called “180 Days of Change” earlier this week, promising to make some serious improvements over the next several months.

The first issue the company plans to tackle? Driver earnings.

Previously, Uber refused to include a tipping option within the app, insisting that foregoing tipping made for a “hassle-free” experience for drivers and riders alike.

However, drivers with the popular ride-hailing app have been vocal about what they feel is missed earning potential. Earlier this year, over 11,000 drivers in New York City signed a petition asking city officials to force Uber to include a tipping option.

Although it has always said drivers are welcome to accept cash tips, the company has stood firm in its decision not to offer a tipping function, saying tipping may create a bias, particularly within the driver/rider review function on the app.

The company also noted a tipping system could incentivize drivers to spend more time in areas of town where tips may be higher, thereby narrowing the company’s reach.

How a tipping feature will affect drivers’ earnings and the overall functionality of the ride-hailing system remains to be seen, but the reaction from drivers seems entirely positive.

Harry Campbell, who runs the popular blog Rideshare Guy, wrote, “I’ve always been frustrated by Uber’s lack of empathy toward drivers, and although this won’t shift the perception overnight, it is a big step in the right direction.”

Along with the new tipping feature, Uber has also announced a few smaller changes, such as shortening the fee cancellation period and a paid wait time which starts two minutes after arriving at a rider’s pickup location. Drivers will also be able to cash out earnings and tips at any time — no waiting for a certain amount to accrue.

All we can say is props to Uber for listening to its users, taking responsibility and formulating a plan to better the overall experience for riders and drivers.

Grace Schweizer is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder.