Uber, being a completely cashless service, has never required users to tip drivers. Despite being commonplace in the taxi industry, Uber drivers get paid the value of the fare and pay a commission to the company.
The five-star rating system used by Uber essentially replaces tipping, giving drivers an incentive to provide the best experience possible, but without a cash reward for doing so. Uber also notes that drivers earn an average hourly wage of $20, meaning that drivers no longer need to worry about counting tips at the end of the day.
Uber spokeswoman Natalia Montalvo commented on Uber providing a fair average wage:
“Uber is creating an unprecedented economic opportunity in the for-hire transportation ecosystem…This is a fundamental and significant change from the status quo, where drivers are mandated to operate in shifts and often earn less than minimum wage per hour.”
Many people find tipping with Uber confusing because of an option presented to them when they first register with the application. When entering personal details, users are asked what percentage ‘gratuity for Taxi’ they would like to add to every ride they make. The user can choose any percentage between 0, where they pay nothing, and 30%.
This feature, however, is only available for UberTaxi. This is a service that allows Uber users to hail a traditional taxi on their application, and the gratuity fee is paid only to these traditional drivers. So, unless you’re in cities that support Uber Taxi – like New York or San Francisco, then you will not be providing any gratuity to your driver.
According to Sharton Schweitzer, an etiquette consultant and the founder of Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide, says that Uber drivers should be tipped in the same way that other professionals are tipped. In a July 2016 article, Schweitzer explains:
“The apps are designed for us to evolve to a cashless society…however, that doesn’t mean we become heartless in the process.”
Schweitzer recommends that, because Uber doesn’t allow tips to be made through the app, users should follow the rules that allow riders to tip in cash. A tip of 20% would be considered standard, but it is still by no means commonplace in this industry.
Drivers appreciate it, and customers certainly are willing to pay – after all, rival cab hailing app ‘Lyft’ already offers a feature that allows riders to tip their driver within 24 hours of the journey. However, not tipping is not frowned upon, and drivers will still strive to offer the most reliable and comfortable experience possible in order to ensure that they maintain their high user rating and can continue providing a service in their city.