Lyft drivers have earned more than $200 million in tips since the company’s founding.
If New York City’s taxi regulators have their way, Uber Technologies Inc may be forced to provide passengers a way to tip their drivers despite its longstanding resistance on the issue.
As per the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, it has put forth in motions plans to that will require all for-hire vehicles to allow passengers to tip drivers using the same method they use to pay for the ride.
For Uber, this will mean, the company will have to incorporate a tipping feature within its smartphone app.
As per the commission, this proposal comes in the wake of falling driver wages. Uber has considerably reduced fares across the country. Passenger’s tips could help boost drivers’ income.
Uber’s opposition to the tipping proposal stems from the fact that this will slow down transaction time between the rider and the driver thus cause an inconvenience to passengers.
“I found myself having to work longer hours away from my family to earn the same money,” said Luiny Tavares, who has driven for Uber for five years who is part of the Independent Drivers Guild.
Set up last year the guild was to advocate drivers to start a campaign 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.
Any proposal, including the tipping proposal, will have to face a protracted process before it becomes a rule that Uber will have to follow.
Although the taxi commission has the authority to initiate rules on its own they will however have to be certified by a city’s legal authority.
“We have not seen the proposal and look forward to reviewing it,” said Alix Anfang, Uber spokeswoman. “Uber is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers and we are constantly working to improve the driver experience.”
Adding the tipping feature will bring down the key difference between Uber and Lyft, its U.S. competitor.
Although Lyft has a smaller market share it is the preferred service of many drivers since it allows the tipping feature through its smartphone app.
Earlier in March, Lyft had said its drivers have earned more than $200 million in tips since the company’s founding.