Uber has long had a complicated relationship with tips. As the company said last year, tipping is not "expected or required" when you take an Uber, and the app still does not provide an option to do so. That might change in New York City before long, though. Today, the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) announced it was supporting a petition from the Independent Driver's Guild that would require ride-hailing apps like Uber to include a tipping feature.
That petition received more than 11,000 signatures; the Independent Driver's Guild estimated that including a tipping button would lead to a total of $300 million addition income per year for drivers. The TLC already requires that taxi cab payment screens, but it hasn't made the same requirement for ride-hailing apps just yet. And while the support of the TLC is important, this is far from a done deal -- but it's hard to see the downside for anyone aside from Uber, which has long claimed that its pricing takes gratuities into account.
While Uber hasn't yet added a tipping button to its app, Lyft has had one for a while now; it would already be in compliance with the proposed rule should it pass. Uber has a history of pulling out of locations when rules change that aren't in its favor, but it's hard to imagine the company leaving NYC.