So imagine you’re wrapping up a night
out. You’re ready to head home, but driving isn’t an option, and you don’t want to wait for public transit. So you use your phone and you fire up Uber, or Lyft, or whatever ride-hailing app floats your boat. 20 minutes later you’re faced
with this screen. Do you tip your driver or not? No. Sometimes. …Sometimes. I can’t tell you the last time I tipped an Uber or Lyft. Sometimes I’ll do it. Sometimes I won’t. I should tip. I tip every single ride. Wow. Aren’t we just like, much better than me. So riders are all over the place with how they’re tipping. Turns out, only about 35% of riders tip consistently. When I talk to drivers,
tipping is definitely a big deal for them. It’s something that’s on their
minds, and it can make or break a ride for them. This is Shirin Ghaffary. I write about tech and labor. App-based drivers and cab drivers perform a very similar service. But riders in the US pretty consistently agree: cab drivers should be tipped. I would never walk out of a cab without tipping the driver. I instinctively tip the cab driver. So what’s going on here? Why is there so much confusion around whether you should tip on apps like Uber or Lyft? This split, between how riders tip cab
drivers versus app-based drivers, can be traced back to the origins of Uber: the company that made smartphone ride-hailing a thing in the first place. Uber definitely wasn’t the first ride-hailing app, but it was the one that scaled the most quickly, and became a household name the most quickly. By 2015, Uber accounted for over 90% of all app-based rides. Uber set the standard in terms of what’s the right driver-rider courtesy. And for years, Uber set the standard that what’s right is not tipping your driver. From the moment Uber entered the market in 2009, there wasn’t even an option to tip in the app. Over the next few years, the company told
curious customers over Twitter that a 20% tip was already built in to the fare
and that there was no need for riders to tip. Uber also told riders that its
drivers take home the majority of the fare. I thought that Uber and Lyft were
just like showering their drivers with money so that you didn’t have to tip.
I’ve always thought that the tip was built into the cost. Uber’s messaging around tipping had a huge impact. Even as other ride-hailing
apps joined the market with tipping built right into the app, riders still
saw these services as something that didn’t require a tip. Still, for a time,
even though app-based drivers weren’t making much in tips, their pay was pretty
good and more importantly, stable. This chart shows what app-based drivers made
between 2012 and 2014. Even though it goes up and down,
it basically hovers around $1500 a month. But that didn’t last. As the ride-hailing
market got more crowded, Uber and its competitors started to lower their fares
to stay competitive. There’s been many reports that Uber drivers’ pay has been going down over the years. Uber’s saying that its commission is 25% but there are
some reports showing that it actually may be as high as 40 percent. And in some
cases, they’re actually lowering the rate that they give drivers per mile. After 2014, app-based driver’s pay dropped dramatically. And by 2018, drivers were making nearly half what they were making just six years before. You started to hear drivers get more and more disgruntled. You saw this sort of
community form of drivers who felt like these companies may be ripping them off
or not giving them their fair share and the lack of tip became a real problem
because the amount of money that Uber drivers were getting was comparable to
how much to be getting in a cab where most people would tip. To make matters worse
for drivers, the reasons Uber had given for not including tipping in its app,
those turned out to be not entirely true. Uber had said that tipping is included
in our bill. That was sort of debunked and actually some people ended up suing
Uber over that claim in part and they ended up settling. Finally, drivers’
dissatisfaction reached a turning point. In 2017, Uber’s then-CEO Travis Kalanick gets in an Uber and as he’s leaving the driver brings up driver pay to Travis. And Travis sort of starts to blame the driver. Definitely it was an inflection point because it made the company look like it didn’t care about its drivers. And I think when you have that hand-in-hand with this no tipping policy, it was not a good look for Uber. Several months after this video,
Uber finally added a tipping option to to its app. But that wasn’t enough to change
the pervasive no-tip culture the company had already built. I always tip cab
drivers but I don’t always tip Uber drivers. I didn’t know people tipped. Really? I thought everyone tipped. So should you tip your Uber driver? Well, that’s still up to you. But just keep in mind, just like cab drivers, app-based
drivers do not automatically get tipped. And if you tip in a cab, you should
probably be doing the same for app-based rides. Reconsidering how we tip isn’t
going to fix the larger problems with the ride-hailing industry, but it’s still
a good thing to do. I will say that the gig economy is tough.
It’s a tough gig. So, anything you can do to reward
people for good work, I think, is nice.

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100 thoughts on “Are you supposed to tip an Uber driver?”

  1. I took a cab recently and it turned out to be less expensive than Uber. So I tipped the cab driver (which made it more expensive than Uber).

    I think this video just convinced me to start tipping my Uber driver. Now, the world will be a better place thanks to Vox.

  2. I drive for Lyft and Uber in Milwaukee. No one tips, I repeat no one tips. I have a solution I've implemented; I stopped tipping everywhere I go… It's great because I spend time in Italy so I have an excuse, not that I really even care at this point.

  3. Simple. If the pay for ride-hail drivers is going down, then don't become an Uber driver. It's a basic economic principle. The free market works by incentive, as people tend to aim for jobs which pay the most. If wages go down substantially, it means there's an excess of labor, and that people need to get other jobs.

  4. What's the point of tipping if it is a normal charge every time you take an Uber? Tipping is a scam by these corporates who don't pay their employees enough.

  5. My co-worker is a part time uber driver. He is not allowed to ask for tips according to uber. He said maybe 20-30% of people tip. He also put a sign in his car saying "Tips are not required but appreciated"

  6. Everyone has their hand out. I am sick of it. There is a massive tip cup at my 7-Eleven and the morning cashier holds your change over the cup looking at you to see if you just drop it in. I am sick of it. DO NOT ENCOURAGE THIS BEHAVIOR!!!

  7. The tipping etiquette in U.S. is ridiculous and has resulted in low wages, hurting the ones being tipped in the long run

  8. Hey Vox!
    I watched your video, including the ads, and you made money from my viewing.
    ARE YOU GOING TO TIP ME!?

  9. I’m just worried that the more Uber pressures riders to tip, the less they’ll compensate drivers. Pretty much this will turn into how waiters are only paid $2/hr because they make tips.

    Uber needs to be responsible for paying their drivers adequately and not forcing consumers to pick up the slack. We need to do away with tip culture and force employers to pay their employees liveable wages.

  10. Or, OR! American companies can just pay their employees, and put that into their prices, and pretend like they are decent human beings by doing so

  11. Tipping in general is fuckig ridiculous. This is coming from an American that eats at reastaurants and other places where tipping is the 'norm.' Althought I do agree that servers or drivers that go above and beyond to satisfy our food/ride/or experience in general, is worthy of a tip.

  12. Coming from New York City and taking yellow cabs my entire childhood as well as talking to drivers I learned how hard they work and why it's so important to tip. I don't see ride hailing drivers as any different. That's why I always use Lyft and Juno (when available) because they made tipping so much easier in the days before Uber had built in tipping

  13. It would be interesting to see how the tipping rate compares before this video and a few months after this video to see if people started tipping more.

  14. Translation: “Are you supposed to compensate an employee for a company’s shortcomings and inability to pay them a livable wage?”

  15. What kinda questions is this?? Duh obviously. 🤔🙄🙄🙄This is what makes America great we give each other a hand.. And it inhibits the economy. Uber drivers don't earn as well so… Stop the narcissism people come on.

  16. In Spain we only tip if the service was exceptional and the tip isn't a large amount of money… Employers should pay enough money to their employees and not force customers to do so.

  17. If you are too cheap to tip a rideshare driver that is making WAY LESS than a cab driver you should be taking public transit! The vast majority of the time rideshare vehicles are nicer and cleaner then cabs and public transit. There are a few exceptions but as a rule of thumb it is true.

    Both Lyft and Uber are now taking 40 to 60% of the fair. Lyft takes ALL of the surge and the driver is only paid mileage (about .70 cents to .30 cents a mile for basic service) and mins (.15 cents a minute). The vast majority of short fairs end up paying the drivers $3.34 a trip. If you don't tip you really should not use the service. The driver pay keeps dropping.

    When rideshare first started the drivers on average got $2.30 a mile and not sure how much a min, but it was greater than .15 cents.

  18. This video fails to address the competitive nature of the business. More people take Uber’s than cabs in the modern day. Maybe one of the factors to this is the lack of tipping. Something to think about

  19. Tipping is an American culture that has a sickening past. Americans make it seem reasonable for the rest of the world. We only need one kid to point out who’s naked.

  20. Only in America can the blame for low wages be put on customers…. Uber is making billions and should focus on its employees not shareholders because like many businesses, the workers are the business

  21. tipping for cab rides is asinine. what are they doing that's worthy of tipping besides offering the service they're supposed to? by that same logic you should tip teachers and security guards.

  22. To tip or not to tip? Nowhere other than America would this be a relevant discussion. I'd like to understand though, why people think that rewarding good service is the consumers' responsibility, and not that of the employers'? If anything, Uber needs to be regulated to ensure that they pay fair wages to its drivers, instead of expecting drivers to depend on tips.

  23. Hold on… I thought that ride share business like UBER, Lift and Ola where meant to be a supplementary income activity, not the sole income provider… were as taxi services traditionally have been the sole income activity for the drivers.

    Most of the UBER and Ola drivers I know do it on a part time basis to supplement their income.

    So what gives?

  24. Tipping culture is a mess and confusing for tourists. I've been to the US and yes I tipped around 10-15 % from the amount of the bill. Problem is I thought we give a tip because we're satisfied with the service provided, if it becomes a must then just put a service tax into the cost. I've been to European countries and most of the guide said to look for service charges in the bill,if it's not there then leave a tip or roundup the bill. It's even more confusing to me and could lead to awkward moments.

    In most Asian countries we don't give a tip to any kind service (restaurants, taxis,etc.). I usually round up the bill if I pay cash in taxis or ubers. But it's not a necessity. Even for people working in parking areas and other public places, they wear "no tipping" shirt.

    Conclusion: just include tips into the bills that customers paid. Simple solution.

  25. You want to tip Uber drivers? Why don't you tip the garbage man or the doctor or the nurse that take care of you? Or the mailman or delivery guy when they give you your stuff? Even better, add tips to your kids' allowance! Why don't you tip your accountant as well!

  26. As a driver for ride share, my account told me it isn’t even worth it anymore because of how little the companies pay use after they take their cut. The only part they don’t get a cut of it the tip. For those from other countries saying tipping is a joke, it’s part of the etiquette in our country. The same as your country has different etiquette. Shall I insult your social norms as well?

  27. In California (probably other states too) it gets even better. Not only do you pay a tip for the server in restaurants, but some now include a 'hidden' fee on bills to cover the 'rising costs of health care' that was mandated by Obamacare. It's not bad enough these places don't pay a livable wage for their servers and expect customers to cover that with tipping, but they tack on even MORE in the form of mandatory fees that are added to the bill and can't be declined.

    Any time I see that fee listed, I stop patronizing that establishment.

  28. Here’s the thing, as a lyft driver you should absolutely tip. We have to pay for gas, insurance, wear and tear on our vehicles. The tip helps us significantly. We aren’t paid enough

  29. raise the minimum wage instead! that would remove the need to tip. if tipping is a moral requirement, then it should just be included.

  30. I'd say no.. unless they did something outside unusually helpful. I've been left in random places by Uber drivers.

  31. Tipping enables these corporations to pay increasingly low wages. Also Lyft and Uber cost just as much as a cab these days.

  32. uber/lyft takes roughly half or more of the fare. while driver assumes all risks and costs( gas, insurance, oil changes, brakes etc due to wear n tear).

  33. I don't understand, why nobody tips their taxi/uber drivers outside of the US.
    In Germany drivers get enough money from their employers, but tipping is just polite.

  34. I think ride-sharing has been completely misunderstood by my generation (millennials). Ride share started as a cheaper alternative to taxis for people who were going in the same direction. Then, the 'same direction' part was dropped and it became just a cheaper alternative to taxis. I used to drive for Lyft and the level of entitlement of the passengers, who are again, using the cheaper alternative to taxis is mind boggling. Demanding windows up or down, specific radio stations, charging their phone, AC/heat on or off, sometimes requesting specific routes. If you want to do all that then splurge and get a taxi.

    As for the pay, ride share typically pays LESS THAN minimum wage, they get away with this by only counting actual drive time with customers in the car as working, driving to pick up isn't included and can often take just as long as the actual drive. You should always tip, every single ride, always tip.

    That being said, I think America's tipping culture is a joke however not tipping someone doing you a service who's making less than minimum wage doesn't change that.

  35. American tipping "culture" (rather pressure) only exist because corporations are allowed to underpay their employees. Get a decent minimum wage implemented that will automatically reflect on the actual fares and don't leave it a goodwill gesture from customers.

  36. I'm sympathetic to the situations of the drivers, but I also feel like we have a chance to prevent a new industry from getting it coded into our social wiring that it is customer responsibility to make sure the employees get paid enough. Restaurants, etc., are all too hardwired at this point for us Americans, but god, we should push back where we can and demand that the companies pay employees appropriately while we have a chance.

  37. Tip when you receive an extraordinary service, then, tip as much as it pleases you. End of it. Your percentage-based-voluntary-compulsory tipping system is as broken as your democracy.

  38. The old days of a service employee getting almost nothing but tips is over so tipping today is basic good manners for nominal Starbucks stuff. Outstanding performance = always tip BIG.

  39. I would feel insulted if I was tipped. It makes me feel like a pole dancer with clients making it rain. While the additional money is useful, anything on top of the actual fee makes me seem like a beggar, especially if it's on my mind.

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