Uber Rolls Out Tipping Feature Among Improvements

Uber Adds Option to Tip Drivers

Tipping is part of a broader set of features San Francisco-based Uber rolled out on Tuesday, which also includes paying drivers while they wait for passengers, as the company begins a months-long push to improve working conditions for drivers. In an email sent to drivers, which opens up to a fuller website here, the company's promising a variety of "meaningful changes & improvements to your driving experience". Uber also is fighting allegations that it's relying on a key piece of technology stolen from Google spin-off Waymo to build a fleet of self-driving cars.

It's not yet clear whether Uber itself will be absorbing some of the costs detailed above or whether they'll fall on riders, but along with tipping, the changes are bound to earn the company favor with at least some of their drivers.

Driver pressure will have played a significant factor - but it is likely that wider concerns are what prompted this latest move by Uber, a company left in tatters after a hugely critical report into its culture. Uber will also offer U.S. drivers the option to enrol in injury-protection insurance.

Uber executives had long argued that the no-muss aspect of its non-tipping approach - get in a auto, ride to your destination, and get out - was one of the most popular aspects of its service with riders. The company so far has prevailed.

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Holt said the company talked to thousands of drivers before moving to boost driver income. Drivers will also get a cut of Uber's "teen fare" which had previously gone exclusively to Uber.

Uber users, a major new feature is coming your way soon. Widespread publicity about its bad behaviour threatens to turn off drivers and riders, giving them incentive to switch to Lyft. But Uber continued to resist allowing tipping nationally until Tuesday, when Uber changed its official stance, moving toward making the practice voluntary. In New York City, ridership has grown, but Uber's growth rate is slowing when compared with Lyft. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in April said it was planning to propose a rule no later than July that would require Uber to add a tipping feature to its app. But Uber has since recovered. Uber was valued at almost $70 billion the last time it raised money.

A backlash like that could deepen Uber's losses, which totaled $2.8 billion a year ago alone, threatening to make the company less valuable to investors.

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