Uber drivers can officially ask riders for cash tips. According to a class action settlement entered on Thursday, April 23, 2016, drivers are allowed to openly request tips from their patrons. However, having to carry cash is a change in the basic aspects of using the app that many riders have come to expect.
Uber’s seamless way for customers to obtain and pay for a ride, without the need for cash, became popular with its users. The company has touted these facts in its marketing campaigns since its inception. Riders utilizing the app request their driver, and the ride is charged to the credit card on file upon arriving at their destination.
The assumption for most Uber fans was that drivers’ tips were included in the fees they were charged at the end of their ride. Until now, the company has touted that no one needs cash for tips when riding with Uber. This message has been explicitly clear since Uber’s introduction. Despite this message, tips have not been included in the transactions.
As a result of the lawsuit agreement, Uber will need to clarify that tips are not included in their fees. Additionally, there is nothing preventing drivers from putting up signs asking riders for cash tips.
The premise of the company has been to provide consumers a way to easily order a car service and have a personal driver provide a simple trip to their destination; therefore, adding cash tips may complicate the user’s experience. While competitors like Lyft have already incorporated a tip feature for their users, Uber has no plans to integrate a tip feature into their app. They believe that their riders, once they understand the policy, will be generous and appreciative regarding the service they receive and will freely offer their drivers tips.
While Uber drivers may feel that this is a win to help offset the costs of gas and general wear and tear on their vehicles, riders may be confused when they are asked for cash. Many fans of the app have become accustomed to not needing to carry cash, so tips may present some level of awkwardness. The company recognizes that this could be an issue but still does not feel inclined to add a tip feature to their app.
Another level of difficulty may come with Uber’s rating system. Drivers can give riders reviews, and the lack of a cash tip, or an insufficient tip, could inspire a bad review. However, a bad review given to the driver for asking for a tip will affect the driver more than the rider. Riders with bad reviews are unlikely to be kicked off the app, drivers with negative feedback can be removed as chauffeurs.
The class action lawsuit recognizes that there are many challenges to Uber’s introduction of cash tips; however, there is no other option being offered at this time. The company did not offer any comment on whether they felt the request for cash tips would affect the use of the app or satisfaction of its customers.
By Gichele Cocrelle
Edited by Jeanette Smith
UK Business Insider: It’s ridiculous that Uber won’t let people tip drivers from its app
Quartz: Get ready for your Uber driver to start asking you for cash
New York Times: Uber Settles Cases with Concessions, but drivers stay freelancers
Photo Courtesy of Steven Depolo’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License