I think there’s no denying that the public perception of Uber has changed substantially over the past couple of years. When Uber first became popular it was sort of the underdog that everyone loved, as they were taking the taxi mafias to task. Unfortunately that perception has changed, especially over the past few months.
After countless corporate scandals and widespread dissatisfaction among drivers, they just aren’t as beloved as they used to be. Originally people used Uber to boycott taxis, and now people are boycotting Uber.
Personally I continue to use Uber, mainly because I think Uber is still better than taxis. I have started using Lyft a bit more as well, but they’re not available in all markets.
Anyway, one thing I hadn’t realized until Live and Let’s Fly wrote about it is that Uber has evolved on how they approach tipping.
In the past Uber’s website said the following about tipping:
Do I need to tip my driver?
You don’t need cash when you ride with Uber. Once you arrive at your destination, your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file — there’s no need to tip.
However, nowadays the Uber website says the following:
Can I tip my driver with the app?
The Uber app does not include a tip when billing you for a trip fare.
In most cities, Uber is a cashless experience. Tipping is voluntary. Tips are not included in the fare, nor are they expected or required.
As a rider, you are not obligated to offer your driver a gratuity in cash. If you decide you would like to tip, your driver is welcome to accept.
Uber still isn’t saying you absolutely should tip, but I do think the tone is very different — they’ve gone from saying that there’s no need to tip, to saying that tip isn’t included, and that there’s no way to tip through the app.
I will say that I’ve noticed a lot more drivers actively soliciting tips, whether it comes in the form of them posting a sign in their car, saying something about how little they’re paid, etc.
Personally my approach to tipping with Uber hasn’t changed:
- I don’t tip with UberBLACK, since I think the prices are typically fair
- In markets where I personally think Uber is too cheap, I will tip (for example, in Los Angeles, UberX costs 90 cents per mile nowadays, which is about a third the price of a taxi)
- For markets where I find UberX prices to be “fair” (like New York City, for example) I tip if it’s a great experience, but typically don’t otherwise
Mainly I just wish they’d allow tipping directly through the app. Sometimes I want to tip but don’t have any cash. Part of Uber’s value proposition is that it’s cashless. That’s kind of thrown out the window when drivers start to expect tips, but it can’t be done electronically.
Has your approach to tipping Uber drivers changed over time, as drivers are more actively soliciting tips and Uber’s stance on tipping has softened?