| SAN FRANCISCO, April 17
SAN FRANCISCO, April 17 Ride-services company
Uber Technologies Inc may be required to provide passengers a
way to tip their drivers, despite its longstanding resistance,
if a plan by New York City's taxi regulator is implemented.
The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission said on
Monday that it plans to propose a rule no later than July that
would require all for-hire vehicles to allow passengers to tip
drivers using the same method they use to pay for the ride. In
Uber's case, this would involve adding a tipping feature within
the its smartphone app.
The commission said its proposal is a response to driver
concerns over falling wages, as Uber has reduced fares in New
York City and across the country. Tips could help boost drivers'
Uber has said previously it opposed tipping because it was
an inconvenience to passengers and slowed the transaction
between rider and driver.
"I found myself having to work longer hours away from my
family to earn the same money," Luiny Tavares, who has driven
for Uber for five years, said on a call with reporters that was
organized by the Independent Drivers Guild.
The guild, set up last year 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
Any tipping proposal faces a protracted process before it
becomes a rule Uber must follow. The taxi commission has the
authority to initiate rulemaking on its own, but rules must be
certified by city legal authorities. There is also 30-day public
comment period and public hearing, and a board of commissioners
votes on the final rule.
"We have not seen the proposal and look forward to reviewing
it," said Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang. "Uber is always striving
to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers and we are
constantly working to improve the driver experience."
Adding a tipping feature to Uber's app would remove one
significant difference between Uber and its chief U.S.
competitor, Lyft. Lyft has a smaller market share but is the
preferred service of many drivers because it allows tipping
through the smartphone app. Lyft said in March that its drivers
have earned more than $200 million in tips since the company's
(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Editing by Dan Grebler)