For years, New Yorkers have been rewarding taxi drivers by tipping them with a few more dollars. Independent drivers have been getting tips from happy riders, but drivers from renowned ride-hailing service Uber never really get their share of tips. Uber, as we all know, is a completely cashless platform, so there’s practically no room for them to receive tips!
Fortunately, those days will soon get over. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has proposed a new rule that would require ride-hailing services like Uber to offer a simple tipping method, moving in line with their respective payment modes. This would mean that cashless cab aggregators may have to include an in-app tipping option, something that has been undermined for years.
At the same, the proposed rule also clarifies that anyone exclusively accepting cash could continue accepting cash tips and is not required to offer an app-based tipping method.
“This rule proposal will be an important first step to improve earning potential in the for-hire vehicle industry, but it is just one piece of a more comprehensive effort to improve the economic well-being of drivers,” Meera Joshi, the city’s taxi commissioner, said in a statement.
The proposal was put forward in the wake of a petition from the Independent Drivers Guild, a group that represents Uber drivers in New York. The petition, which received over 11,000 signatures, argued that drivers were losing thousands of dollars without an easy tipping option.
IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr. said,
“Today’s decision is a vitally important step forward for drivers. In-app tipping will mean a raise of hundreds of millions of dollars for New York City drivers each year. Drivers have long been denied access to the kinds of benefits and labour protections many workers take for granted, such as paid sick leave or the minimum wage. As a result, New York City’s professional drivers have traditionally depended on gratuities for a substantial portion of their income. Cuts to driver pay across the ride-hail industry has made tipping income more important than ever”.
However, it is worthy to note that the rule has just been proposed and it could still be months before it’s actually implemented in New York City. It would be requiring a formal introduction in coming months, followed by a public hearing to seek feedback from members of the community and then a vote to decide whether to implement or reject the proposal.
In-App Tipping Could Come To Major US Cities
If it’s implemented in Gotham, we could be seeing major US cities following the lead and getting the in-app tipping option. Uber would like to keep its app standardised, instead of juggling with different versions of the app for different cities.
Having that said, it would be interesting to see whether Uber deploys the in-app tipping option. The company has held its stance on tipping since its inception and has lost a bunch of its drivers to Lyft and other taxi and cab services. Maybe it’s time to do things the right way. It won’t end the cut-throat competition, but would surely win back loyalty, from both riders and drivers.