Uber Caves and Announces Tipping, Drivers Appreciative

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Uber, the embattled ride-sharing company which is attempting to remodel itself in response to scandals and controversies over the past year, has announced that they will finally allow passengers to tip drivers. This will be part of a new program called “180 Days of Change” where the company hopes to rebuild its reputation with drivers and the general public.

Uber sent an email out to all drivers and delivery partners in the U.S. on Tuesday and announced various features designed to help drivers earn more money. In order to receive tips, drivers will have to update their Uber app to the latest version. Tipping is currently only available in Seattle, Minneapolis, and Houston as Uber makes sure that the function will have no technological problems.

Once that is complete, passengers can leave a tip once they rate a driver. They can either enter a preset amount of $1, $2, or $5, or enter a custom amount. Riders can even leave drivers tips for up to 30 days after the ride.

Uber also presented other ways which will allow drivers to make more money. Drivers will now receive a fee if they have to wait more than 2 minutes for a passenger to show up, and passengers will now just have two minutes to cancel a ride without paying a $5 fee instead of five minutes.

A Good Sign or a Sop?

Uber drivers were understandably happy about the changes, having complained about the lack of tips especially as ridesharing competitor Lyft has allowed passengers to leave tips. In Seattle, drivers at an Uber event cheered and applauded company representatives, with some drivers noting that they expect tips to increase their pay by 15 to 20 percent.

However, this change in and of itself will not be enough to quell the dark clouds surrounding Uber, which is shown by the Wednesday announcement that CEO Travis Kalanick will be resigning. Kalanick had said he would be taking a leave of absence last week in response to family issues, but a shareholder revolt apparently prompted him to step aside. Uber will have to convince the public that it is sincere about its efforts to reduce workplace harassment in the aftermath of various scandals and resignations.