Did Uber Just Give Drivers Tacit Approval to Collect Tips?

The Internet is saying one thing. Uber claims another.

April 28, 2016 9:00 am

To tip or not to tip has never been the question — at least with respect to your Uber driver.

But thanks to some mixed-messages leaking all over the Internet today, it’s unclear if that will remain the case.

Here’s what we know:

The Good
After reaching a settlement with drivers in California and Massachusetts last week, Uber agreed to pay out $84 million to its workers in exchange for allowing the drivers to remain independent contractors without benefits.

The Bad
As part of the agreement, Uber agreed to give tacit approval for optional gratuity. More specifically: it appears drivers now have the right to clearly notify customers that tips are not included in fares, and can even solicit cash tips by asking passengers or putting signs in their vehicles.

The Ugly?
After the Internet started freaking out about the possibility of having to tip or risk losing a five-star rating, Uber NYC GM Josh Mohrer sent an email to riders in an effort to quell the panic.

“Nothing has changed. As we’ve said for many years, being Uber means you don’t need to tip,” he wrote. “Today, riders tell us that one of the things they like most about Uber is that it’s hassle-free. And that’s how we intend to keep it.”

What was left unanswered in Mohrer’s email is whether the company will allow drivers to ask for tips themselves, and how receiving a poor rating for stinginess will be handled. Uber Global has yet to address the issue.

Until that changes, you may want to consider using Lyft. It’s average fare is about $3 cheaper anyways.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.