New York City proposal would force Uber to provide tipping option

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One of the best features of ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. might be about to come to an end as a proposal by a New York City government department that would force the company to allow the payment of tips.

The proposal from New York’s Taxi and Limousine Commission would require companies providing car services that only accept cards for payments to allow passengers to tip the driver. Uber rival Lyft Inc. already provide the ability to leave a tip, as do traditional taxi services.

“This rule proposal will be an important first step to improve earning potential in the for-hire vehicle industry, but it is just one piece of a more comprehensive effort to improve the economic well-being of drivers,” New York City Taxi Commissioner Meera Joshi said in a statement.

The decision to force Uber to accept tips apparently comes from a petition from the Independent Drivers Guild, a union-like body that represents drivers from services such as Uber and Lyft. It claimed that drivers were losing thousands of dollars thanks to their inability to receive tips using the Uber app. The petition received 11,000 signatures supporting it.

Uber was noncommittal, saying in a statement that they had not seen the proposal but looked forward to reviewing it. “Uber is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers and we are constantly working to improve the driver experience.”

According to The New York Times, the proposal to force car services to allow for tipping will be formally introduced in the “next few months” and will require approval by the taxi commission’s board. As part of the process, drivers and passengers will be invited to comment on the measure at a public hearing prior to a vote.

Photo: senatormarkwarner/Flickr