Uber has been in the spotlight for the past several months, and not for good reasons. Their policies towards drivers, riders, and their employees have caused many to boycott the app. Many people have even gone back to using taxies, which is funny, since part of the reason people loved Uber to begin with was because it was a chance to boycott the (rather corrupt) taxi industry. A few days ago Uber’s former CEO stepped down, given all the things that happened under his watch, not to mention the things he did directly.
Clearly Uber is trying to turn over a new leaf, and as part of that they’ve promised “180 Days of Change,” in which they plan to roll out all kinds of changes that will help out drivers. Here’s how Uber introduces these changes in a message they sent to their drivers:
We’ve heard you. You’ve told us what you want, and now it’s time we step up and give you the driving experience you deserve, because simply put, Uber wouldn’t exist without you.
Today, we’re making a commitment. For the next 180 days (and beyond) we’ll be making meaningful changes & improvements to your driving experience. Some changes will be big, some will be small — all will be the changes you’ve asked for.
While not all of these changes have been announced yet, here’s what we know so far:
Uber is adding in-app tipping in the US
It’s finally happening. As of today, Uber has introduced in-app tipping in Seattle, Minneapolis, and Houston. It’s being rolled out on a trial basis in these cities, and by the end of July Uber plans to roll out tipping in markets throughout the US.
Am I happy to see tipping rolled out through the Uber app? Yes and no. On one hand Uber was founded with the idea of not expecting tipping, but over time things have evolved, especially given how low Uber rates have gotten in many cities. I’m all for people making a livable wage.
On the other hand, I think this change was inevitable, and is overdue. We got to the point where there was almost hostility between divers and riders over this topic, where drivers started to expect tips. There was a disconnect in terms of expectations. The problem is that the unique selling proposition of Uber has been that it’s a cashless experience.
I guess getting to a point where tipping was expected was inevitable, and if that’s the case I’d much rather it be cashless, than the expectation be that we tip in cash.
The ride cancelation window is decreasing to two minutes
Currently riders have five minutes to cancel a ride before they’re charged a fee, though that’s being lowered to two minutes. That seems fair enough to me, and hopefully will help drivers waste less of their time and earn more.
No more unpaid wait times
Drivers won’t have unpaid wait times anymore — drivers can earn a per-minute rate when waiting for a ride, starting two minutes after arrival.
While there are some other changes, I think the above three will have the most positive impact for drivers. Uber will finally allow in-app tipping (which at least seems better than the current situation of drivers expecting cash tips), the cancelation window will be decreasing, and drivers will get paid for waiting.
If this helps drivers earn a better living with Uber, I’m all for it. So while I appreciated Uber’s initial goal of not soliciting tips, this change had to happen sooner or later. If the expectation for tips is there, it’s nice that this can at least be done in a cashless way.
What do you make of these changes coming to Uber?
(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)