Uber, the ride-hailing conglomerate that said it would never, ever add tipping, finally said it would let riders start tipping their drivers via the app in three cities on Tuesday.
Uber is set to roll out tipping in Seattle, Minneapolis, and Houston, according to an email sent to drivers. Uber says it will introduce tipping throughout the United States by the end of July. The new in-app option is part of 180 Days of Change, an initiative to make “meaningful changes to the driving experience.”
This news is big because Uber was famously anti-tipping. CEO Travis Kalanickcurrently on a leave of absencesaid he wanted to keep the app simple. In a blog post in April 2016, Uber called earnings through tips a kind of “uncertainty” for drivers.
Uber riders could always technically tip their drivers in cash, but they weren’t encouraged or prompted to do so. Uber has also told riders that there’s “no need” to tip their drivers. Meanwhile, tipping has become more of a sticking point for workers across the gig economyat Instacart, Postmates, and Lyft.
Lyft has offered tipping pretty much since its launch in 2012 and has called it “the right thing to do.” This week, Lyft announced drivers had earned $250 million in tips. Along with that milestone, Lyft updated its app to prompt riders to tip $2, $5, and $10 instead of $1, $2, and $5 for rides that cost more than $25.
“The exploitation of ride-hail drivers must end and this is an important first step,” Jim Conigliaro, Jr., founder of the New York-based Independent Drivers Guild, said in a statement. IDG, which represents ride-hailing drivers, had advocated for Uber to add in-app tipping.
Uber 2.0 is supposed be to nicer than the old Uber. Now that includes tipping, too.