Remember in April when we said that Uber may roll out a tipping feature this year? Change that may into a will. Starting today, Uber is adding the feature to a handful of markets, and plans to have in-app tipping globally available by the end of July.
Starting today, voluntary tipping will be added to the Uber app in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston, with other markets getting the feature sometime in the next two months. Riders will be able to leave tips after their ride has been completed, but drivers won’t be able to see or collect them until they’ve rated the rider, preventing drivers from giving lower ratings to those who don’t tip. It’s a reversal of a longstanding policy on Uber’s part — since the beginning, they’ve stressed the simplicity of being able to hail a ride, hop in, and hop out without interacting with the app a second time.
It’s one of many changes in store for Uber. Following revelations of rampant and unaddressed sexual harassment and gender discrimination within Uber and an independent investigation led by former attorney general Eric Holder, there have been several key executives who have departed the company. Last week, CEO Travis Kalanick confirmed that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence from his position, although there’s been some debate about what that means — the company will be led by a 14-member team of executives instead of an interim CEO, and Kalanick has said he will be available “for the most strategic decisions.”
That said, most of those stated changes will relate to Uber’s corporate culture and its response to incidents of sexual harassment, not necessarily the business itself. Uber may be forced to reconsider their business model as well, however — banking heavily on autonomous driving has backfired thanks to a lawsuit from rival firm Waymo over stolen technology, and continued billion-dollar losses have convinced many that Uber’s low prices are unsustainable in the absence of a glut of venture capital. An olive branch to drivers may help to prevent many of them from moving to Lyft completely (many drivers work with both Uber and Lyft), but it’s likely this will only be the first of many dominoes to fall.
Via USA Today