Uber is (finally) rolling out tipping

Uber is (finally) rolling out tipping

Uber is (finally) rolling out tipping

Uber officials announced that passengers will be able to tip their driver through the company's app, joining rival ride share company Lyft, which has offered the option for several years. The cancellation window will narrow to two minutes (it was previously five) and drivers will get a per-minute fee if a rider makes them wait beyond two minutes.

You can read Uber's full email to drivers here, laying out a 180-day plan to make "meaningful changes & improvements" to drivers' experiences. Uber also is fighting allegations that it's relying on a key piece of technology stolen from Google spin-off Waymo to build self-driving cars.

Allowing tipping is just one of several changes Uber is making, ostensibly to benefit drivers, as the company continues to deal with the fallout from a workplace harassment scandal that has tarnished its already controversial public image. He added, "Make no mistake, Uber only did this because members of the Independent Drivers Guild pressured regulators". Uber also said Kalanick was taking an indefinite leave amid criticism of his management style and following the death of his mother in a boating accident.

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New York City's Independent Driver Guild was quick to declare a win on the tipping issue, which has always been at the top of the guild's list of demands.

As CNBC noted over the weekend, Uber's ongoing relations with its drivers is one of a half dozen legal threats the company faces as it moves forward - with the question of whether the company can legally continue to classify drivers as contractors, rather than employees, unsettled law, despite a legal victory for Uber in California previous year.

Uber executives had long argued that the no-muss aspect of its non-tipping approach - get in a vehicle, ride to your destination, and get out - was one of the most popular aspects of its service with riders. The company so far has prevailed in that battle. It's also allowing more drivers to designate the routes that they want to travel to keep them closer to a preferred destination. Uber clarified its policy on tipping after being sued in California and MA, telling drivers and riders that tips were acceptable.

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Uber has been contending with angry drivers who have had to compete with a flood of new cabbies on its app, lower rates and high commissions.

The biggest surprise: Uber is adding tips, starting today.

By adding in-app tips, Uber can't erase months of bad publicity, but it can win some favor with drivers, who have long criticized Uber for treating them poorly. But Uber has since recovered.

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A backlash like that could deepen Uber's losses, which totaled $2.8 billion previous year alone, threatening to make the company less valuable to investors.

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