New York City Moves Toward Requiring Uber Tipping Option

Posted April 18, 2017

The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission will announce a proposal that vehicle services that only accept credit card payments give passengers the chance to add a tip.

Adding a tipping feature to Uber's app would remove one significant difference between Uber and its chief US competitor, Lyft. IDG is the only organized group of drivers that meets regularly with Uber management to advocate for drivers.

The bill was drafted after a petition from the Independent Drivers Guild, who represents New York City Uber drivers, argued that employees were losing out on thousands of dollars in potential tips due to the lack of an option to add a tip in the app. The average UberX driver in the state earned between $23 and $24.50 an hour in October 2015, but after expenses like gas and auto insurance, the typical driver in NY was left with a bit more than $19 an hour. The same could go with tipping.

According to the association, app-based cab companies made "tall promises" to drivers, like they would earn as much as Rs 1.5 lakh every month.

The commission opted to push for the change in response to a petition by the Independent Drivers Guild, a union-supported organization that advocates for Uber drivers in NY.

"Uber led drivers and passengers alike to believe that fares would match what was lost in gratuities", he said. The negotiations are still ongoing. The HC was hearing petitions by radio taxi operators against Ola and Uber being allowed to operate without valid licences. "Nothing has changed", Josh Mohrer, Uber's New York City general manager, wrote in an email to users previous year.

'They really need tips to make ends meet'. E-hail drivers often drive for multiple platforms, and incur an array of expenses that aren't factored into their take-home pay, making uniform salary measures tough to come by. Meanwhile, Uber sought to undermine the very notion of tipping. Some of those services are reserved over the phone or by company voucher. But the study predated the gig economy by several years. That app also charges a 25% commission but includes a tipping option.

Drivers' organizations say they are thrilled that the TLC is considering the rule.

While the proposal won't be aimed specifically at Uber, it would certainly be the company most directly affected if it were to go through.

The proposal comes after an initial step taken by the the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG).

"Tipping is not included, nor is it expected or required", Uber said the statement.

"Rulemaking on tipping is a first step in a larger process to bring some of the income protections provided to yellow taxi drivers to the for-hire world".