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What You Need to Know About Uber’s New In-App Tipping Feature

June 20, 2017, 6:10 PM UTC

Uber is making some pretty big changes in an effort to woo drivers to its platform.

The ride-hailing behemoth announced that it will allow passengers to tip their drivers as part of a company-wide campaign called 180 Days of Change.

In-app tipping is a feature that Uber has resisted for a number of years. In a Medium post last year, Uber explained its reasoning against tipping. “We felt it would be better for riders and drivers to know for sure what they would pay or earn on each trip — without the uncertainty of tipping,” the post read.

But as of today, that is no longer the case. Amidst a series of PR problems—including a video of its CEO, Travis Kalanick, berating a driver (he later apologized), a passenger boycott promoted on social media, and sexual harassment allegations—the company has changed its tune.

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In an effort to improve the driving experience, Uber has launched its tipping function in three cities so far: Houston, Minneapolis, and Seattle. It will be available to all U.S. drivers by the end of July.

Here’s how it’ll work: After a trip is completed, passengers will be able to choose from preset tip amounts of $1, $2, $5 or enter a custom amount. After a trip has ended, riders will have 30 days to add a tip. Tips belong to the driver, and there are no service fees.

The news comes one day after rival Lyft rolled out new tipping prompts including new pre-set tip options that help drivers earn more on longer trips. For instance, on a ride over $25, riders will be shown higher tipping options ($2, $5, and $10) instead of the lower options ($1, $2, and $5). In total, Lyft drivers have made more than $250 million in tips.

Uber felt additional pressure in April when the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission introduced a proposal to require the company to provide a tipping option.

Here are some of the other changes Uber announced today:

  • A shorter cancellation window: Drivers will receive a cancellation fee if the rider cancels after more than two minutes (down from five minutes).
  • No more unpaid wait-times: Drivers will earn a per-minute rate if you wait for a rider, starting two minutes after arrival.
  • All driver destination trips count toward Quest: Every trip a driver takes will count toward reaching their Quest total. Quest is a driver incentive that pays a reward when a driver completes a certain number of trips in a certain time period.
  • Quest earnings are available for Instant Pay: Drivers will be able to immediately cash out their tips and earnings.
  • Expanded driver destinations: Drivers will be allowed to set two trips a day going your way and earn money per each mile.
  • Driver injury protection insurance: Drivers will have the option to help protect themselves and their earnings in the event of a covered accident.
  • Teen fare: For teen account trips, an additional $2 will be added to drivers’ base fare, allowing them to earn more for those rides.