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The Tipping Point: Uber OKs Gratuities, Will You Tip?

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The Tipping Point: Uber OKs Gratuities, Will You Tip?

Million Mile SecretsThe Tipping Point: Uber OKs Gratuities, Will You Tip?Million Mile Secrets Team

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The New York Times reports Uber drivers in California and Massachusetts are now allowed to post signs in their cars welcoming cash tips.

Tipping is currently NOT an option in the Uber app.  But the news might change your next Uber experience!

The Tipping Point Uber OKs Gratuities Will You Tip
Uber Drivers in Certain States Can Now Ask for Cash Tips

Will this lead to tipping in all states?

Should You Tip Your Uber Driver?

I think Uber is fantastic!  It’s available in many cities and countries.  I like the in-app GPS tracking to show when your driver will arrive and where you are going.  And it’s a part-time opportunity for many folks to make extra money!

But Uber is known as a cashless experience.  Uber’s website even states:

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.

But as part of settlements to class-action lawsuits in California and Massachusetts, Uber agreed to allow drivers to request tips by posting a sign.

In-App Tipping Coming Next?

If tipping expands throughout the Uber network, will they implement in-app tipping, like Lyft?

I’m not sure that’s a good idea.  I’m concerned Uber would track in-app tips and potentially pay drivers less with the expectation that riders will tip.

The alternative is cash tips.  But what if you only carry miles and points credit cards around?  😉 Not all riders carry cash!

I do believe in tipping for good service!  Many Uber drivers are thoughtful and offer free water or gum or will help you with your luggage.  These kind gestures can warrant a tip.

“No Tipping” Isn’t the Only Thing That Makes Uber Different

Uber is still an outstanding service even if the tipping policy changes.  In my experience, Uber cars tend to be cleaner than taxis.  And you can request a ride from the app instead of hailing a cab in the rain or heat.

And you can decide if you want to accept an Uber driver based on his or her rating.  I haven’t seen that with car services or taxis.  

And of course I like that Uber has discount codes like Emily’s referral code for up to $25 off your 1st ride.  And this code for existing Uber users to save $10 with their Android device.

Do you tip your Uber driver?

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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No, I will definitely not be tipping unless it is part of the app like Lyft. The whole point is to be cashless.

@UberDriver I understand where you are coming from as a driver but at the same time I disagree very heavily with what you said. My employer does not pay me extra for having a 10 mile commute to work, while several of my colleagues only have a 5 miles commute. Why should I as a rider or Uber who provides you with any type of compensation for having to travel to pick me up? In terms of expecting a tip for the experience you provide; when you sign up as an Uber driver, you accept that they are a tipless service and thus your wage is your wage and no tip should be expected whether you go above and beyond or provide a mediocre experience. Why should I provide you a tip, when you it goes against the core principal of Uber? My employer pays me the same whether I go above and beyond or resort to producing average work (though obviously in my favor it is best to always do my best).

If you find that Uber does not pay you enough for your time, then the best part of living in the United States, is that you can leave Uber and work elsewhere. I’m tired of everyone complaining that they don’t get paid enough whether it’s driving for Uber or working for minimum wage at a fast food restaurant, sales associate, etc and want wage increases. Companies pay you for the amount you are worth to them. Driving for Uber and flipping burgers at McDonalds, requires limited skills and thus you are paid for your limited skills. If you want to be paid more, then make yourself worth more to companies by providing them more skills. For example, many go to college to obtain more skills, which then in turn makes them worth more to companies and then those companies are willing to pay them more for their time.

Can’t afford college? I have coworkers that are self taught programmers and make fantastic salaries or even so start a company. These coworkers bought textbooks and searched the web for any information they could get their hands on. Starting a company isn’t expensive either and sometimes only takes a couple hundred to get started. Look at Darius and Emily.. They make great money from this blog and I bet it didn’t take them hundreds of thousands of dollars to get started.

Take advantage of all the opportunities given to you in this great country. If you want a better salary, then go fight for it. Nobody is stopping you.

I’ll be completely honest here, as I think my experience reflects a large segment of the Uber riding population. As a student who is trying to live without a car and rely on public transit and the occasional uber ride (usually uberpool) to get around, low uber fares is the only thing making this economically viable. Tipping on top of the fare really changes the economics for me. When I use Lyft, I do feel compelled to tip, which is the main reason I usually choose Uber, even though I think Lyft has better drivers and a higher quality service.

Sometimes I do think about how little the drivers must be making, but Uber makes it clear that tipping is not only “optional” but not encouraged. I find that drivers don’t seem to expect a tip. It is not a situation I feel entirely comfortable with, but the reality is I wouldn’t use the service as much if I have to tip. Uber’s CEO is more or less in an all out war with his drivers and has even stated that the drivers will ultimately be automated out of their jobs. Uber has not added tipping to the app because they want to discourage it and keep rides as low as possible to encourage Uber as an alternative to owning a car. It doesn’t really make economic sense that having a full time chauffeur costs less than driving yourself, but once the cars become automated it has the potential to completely overhaul transportation.

I’ve done a little bit of research and it seems that after all expenses including care depreciation UberX drivers net around $10 an hour. I know it seems low, but how is this different from buying clothes from a store that pays their employees $7-$10 an hour? I do feel $10 an hour is much too low (in either situation), but is it my job as a consumer to ensure economic justice? Can we just get a $12-$15 an hour minimum wage already and largely outlaw “independent contractor” employment?

I will only tip when I can do it through the app, after the ride like Lyft. Who gives a tip before seeing the bill?! You don’t even know the fare until after you have exited the car. Uber needs to upgrade to allow for this if it is going to work. I am concerned also a driver may give me less than a perfect rating now b/c I didn’t tip. 🙁 I like the fact I don’t have to worry about carrying small bills for a tip. They are messing with a huge Uber advantage.

I always tip my drivers if they provide me a good product at a cheap price, which is usually the case in Uber rides I’ve taken. It drives me crazy that I can’t tip them in the app and also earn 2 UR points/ dollar! LOL!

As a part-time driver there are a few things I wish passengers would consider when deciding whether they should tip:

Was the service better than the average ride?

How far did the driver have to drive (for free) to pick me up?

Is the amount I’m paying really enough to fairly compensate this person for their time and effort? Ex. If a driver drives 4 miles to pick you up and take you 2 miles, they likely netted only a couple dollars for those 6 driven miles. Unless your time is worth more than your driver’s time, this would be an ideal situation in which to tip.

Is your ride a 2x surge price ride? If so, your driver may be getting a fair net, so this may be a situation where a tip isn’t needed.