A New Way Tip Your Uber Driver

A New Way Tip Your Uber Driver

Four years ago, when I wrote about the ride sharing service, Uber, which lets you summon a car and driver using a smartphone app, I said:

 “If you requested a taxi, Uber will add a 20% tip to the metered fare. No tip is charged if you ride in a Black Car, UBERx, or SUV.”

My assumption at the time was that the driver’s tip was conveniently included in Uber’s charge to me.

That meant, that unlike a ride in a conventional taxi (not hailed by using the Uber app on my phone), I wouldn’t have to dig out my wallet to find a credit card or, more importantly, cash to pay Uber for the ride and tip the driver.

It turns out that my assumption about tipping was wrong, although what Uber apparently was telling both riders and drivers is that it was paying drivers well enough that tipping would be not required or expected.

Once riders discovered that tips weren’t included in the amount Uber charged via its smartphone app, at least some of them tipped drivers in cash, as I did last month when I caught a ride from a Phoenix restaurant back to my hotel. It was hardly convenient for me to do so, and a bit puzzling since I could add tips to payments made using smartphone apps at Starbucks and my barber, and at least some eateries and retail outlets.

But all that will become history as Uber rolls out a new version of its app.

As reported on June 20, 2017 by Forbes and other news outlets, an Uber “in-app tipping option will be available as of today in Seattle, Minneapolis, and Houston, and will be extended to the rest of Uber’s American service areas by the end of July.”

But tipping will still be optional. As the Forbes story states, riders wanting to tip the driver will be able to choose from pre-set amounts of $1, $3, or $5, or enter a custom amount.

Presumably most Uber users and all the company’s drivers will be happy with the new tipping arrangement.

But riders may be less enthusiastic about other charges that, according to The Seattle Times, Uber plans to institute in August: It will cost them $5 if they cancel a ride more than two minutes after booking it, and they’ll be charged by the minute if they keep a driver waiting longer than two minutes for them to get out to the street and hop in their Uber “ride.”

While you now may pay a bit more to have Uber take you around town, even with these new charges, the trip could still cost you less than a taxi ride to the same place.

For example, taking a taxi from my hotel to that Phoenix restaurant (which my taxi driver couldn’t find without me phoning the restaurant for directions) cost me $30. I paid half that, including a $5 cash tip, to have an Uber driver take me back to my hotel after my meal.

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