New York City taxi commission plans to force Uber to add driver tipping feature

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By Heather Somerville

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Journey-services firm Uber Applied sciences Inc could also be required to offer passengers a strategy to tip their drivers, regardless of its longstanding resistance, if a plan by New York Metropolis's taxi regulator is carried out.

The New York Metropolis Taxi and Limousine Fee stated on Monday that it plans to suggest a rule no later than July that may require all for-hire automobiles to permit passengers to tip drivers utilizing the identical technique they use to pay for the journey. In Uber's case, this might contain including a tipping function inside the its smartphone app.

The fee stated its proposal is a response to driver considerations over falling wages, as Uber has lowered fares in New York Metropolis and throughout the nation. Ideas might assist increase drivers' revenue.

Uber has stated beforehand it opposed tipping as a result of it was an inconvenience to passengers and slowed the transaction between rider and driver.

"I discovered myself having to work longer hours away from my household to earn the identical cash," Luiny Tavares, who has pushed for Uber for 5 years, stated on a name with reporters that was organised by the Unbiased Drivers Guild.

The guild, arrange final yr to advocate for drivers, began a marketing campaign final summer time to strain Uber so as to add a tipping function in its app. Uber was "unable to maneuver on the choice," stated guild founder Jim Conigliaro, so the guild introduced the difficulty to the taxi fee.

Any tipping proposal faces a protracted course of earlier than it turns into a rule Uber should comply with. The taxi fee has the authority to provoke rulemaking by itself, however guidelines have to be licensed by metropolis authorized authorities. There's additionally 30-day public remark interval and public listening to, and a board of commissioners votes on the ultimate rule.

"We now have not seen the proposal and sit up for reviewing it," stated Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang. "Uber is all the time striving to supply one of the best incomes alternative for drivers and we're continually working to enhance the driving force expertise."

Including a tipping function to Uber's app would take away one vital distinction between Uber and its chief U.S. competitor, Lyft. Lyft has a smaller market share however is the popular service of many drivers as a result of it permits tipping by way of the smartphone app. Lyft stated in March that its drivers have earned greater than $200 million in ideas because the firm's founding.

(Reporting by Heather Somerville; Modifying by Dan Grebler)