Is tipping Uber drivers in-app coming to California and New York?
Tipping Uber Drivers has always been a confusing topic, mostly thanks to Uber’s confusing and obtuse behavior . Years ago, Uber told customers a tip was included. It really wasn’t. Then, after multiple lawsuits, Uber stopped saying that. Now, they go out of their way to tell customers that there is no need to tip, or to imply to customers that a tip is included, when it’s still not. The vast majority of drivers disagree and would prefer if riders had the option to tip. We understand why many don’t tip. Uber doesn’t let you tip in the app.
However, if legislators and regulators get their way, Uber may have to start letting riders tip their Uber driver through the app in California and New York City. In California, Assembly Bill 1099, would force companies that accept payments by credit card, to allow their users to tip using a credit card. In New York, the taxi regulator plans to implement rules forcing Uber to allow in-app tipping by this July.
Will this force Uber to allow in-app tipping in other states?
It’s difficult to say. On the one hand, New York and California are such large markets, that Uber may make tipping functionality available in the rest of their U.S. markets. Also, it would be yet another PR nightmare for Uber if they are forced to allow tipping in two states, but still refuse to allow it in other states.
On the other hand, Uber and CEO Travis Kalanick have a history of obtuse stubborness, so who knows? Keep in mind, the legislation still has to pass and the regulations actually have to be issued. Uber can slow that process down. They could also challenge any resulting legislation or regulations in court, so it may still be a while before tipping comes to Uber.
If Uber wanted an easy, badly needed PR win, they would get ahead of the pending legislation and regulations, and add in-app tipping. It would likely help with driver retention and improve Uber’s bottom line, but why would they want to do that? It’s not like they lost $2.8 billion last year or something.