Uber could begin to give riders the option to give their drivers tips in the app later this month. The car-sharing network has not integrated a tipping function into their platform, but according to online rumors from Uber drivers, things could soon be changing.
Two posts in an UberPeople.net forum address drivers’ recent sightings of electronic tip options. A driver in San Francisco posted on Monday that an Uber engineer told him tips will be added as an option in the app by June 24th. In another thread from June 11, a driver explained how he opened his app to a screen asking if he wanted to accept tips, but the link led to an error screen. After that one sighting, he never saw it again. He wrote that Uber support claimed the appearance of the tipping option on his phone was a glitch, though support also said Uber may introduce that supplement based on the “persistent requests from partner/drivers.”
The ride-hailing service has never had a tipping option built into the app itself. Uber’s website tells riders that they have the option to tip their drivers in cash, but it is not expected. “In most cities, Uber is a cashless experience,” the site reads. “Tipping is voluntary… If you decide you would like to tip, your driver is welcome to accept.”
Meanwhile, Uber’s largest competitor, Lyft, has offered an in-app tip option since 2012. On Monday, Lyft announced that its drivers have collected more than $250M in tips alone in the past year, and it is increasing the tipping options from $1, $2, and $5 up to $2, $5, and $10 for rides over $25. Executive scandals and shakeups at Uber, have led to a PR disaster for the company, while Lyft’s new focus on sustainability, tips, and lack of scandals have probably contributed to Uber’s loss in market share in recent months from 84% to 77%— and Lyft’s subsequent growth. Adding an in-app tip option could be a late attempt by Uber to garner some goodwill from both drivers and riders.
If the forum posts are correct, Uber drivers could see a large increase in earning potential. The company’s 77% market share is nothing to sniff at. If Lyft, with a much smaller share, has collected over a quarter million in tips in four years, Uber’s tips could rake in just as much money in a much shorter time span.