New York City to Uber: Let People Tip Your Drivers
Apr 18 2017
IDG founder Jim Conigliaro Jr. estimates that drivers could make $300 million more a year if tipping practices for yellow cabs in NYC are applied to Uber rides.
Those who are exclusively accepting payments in cash, would be able to continue accepting tips through the same channel as well and won't be required to offer a card-based tipping method. But if New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has its way, Uber may be forced to change that. And Uber says users like that Uber is "hassle-free", and not adding a tipping option helps keep it that way.
The guild, set up a year ago to advocate for drivers, started a campaign last summer to pressure Uber to add a tipping feature in its app. Uber was "unable to move on the option", said guild founder Jim Conigliaro, so the guild brought the issue to the taxi commission.
"This rule proposal will be an important first step to improve earning potential in the for-hire vehicle industry", Meera Joshi, the taxi commissioner, said in a statement today.
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Hailing the move is the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), an organization representing Uber drivers in the city, which has for months been advocating for a noncash tipping option for Uber customers. Low pay was a common theme among drivers, as was Uber's manipulation of fare prices.
The company, which operates in 74 countries, says it now has 147,000 drivers on the Uber platform in California, accounting for almost one-fourth of its US total. In New York City, it may soon not have much of a choice. Lyft, the No. 2 service in the city, includes a tipping option, as does newcomer Juno, though it is only activated when a driver receives a five-star rating.
Uber said in a statement that it looks forward to reviewing the TLC's proposal. The TLC said it will work off a petition presented in February by the Independent Drivers Guild, a non-union group that represents Uber drivers and other professional drivers in the city. "There is anger among drivers that government is not intervening in raising their issues with Ola and Uber", Kamaljeet Gill, president of Sarvodaya Drivers' Association, said.
Uber spokeswoman Eva Behrend, noting that the report relates to complaints dating back two or three years, said, "We've significantly improved our processes since then".
Those charges and the proposed penalty are now subject to examination by an administrative law judge who will conduct further proceedings before recommending to the five-member commission itself what action, if any, should be taken against the company.