dglobalnews.com NY could force Uber to change its policy on tipping drivers
Published: Tue, April 18, 2017
Tech | By Arthur Brown

NY could force Uber to change its policy on tipping drivers

NY could force Uber to change its policy on tipping drivers

Guild member Luiny Tavares said that he drives for Uber as well as Lyft, and that through Lyft's tipping feature he nearly always makes back the company's 25 percent cut of his fares.

"Uber is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers and we are constantly working to improve the driver experience", Alix Anfang, a spokeswoman for Uber, said in a statement to The New York Times.

"The work ahead for the TLC is to provide more transparency for drivers on how their earnings are calculated, to provide earning protections and a means of redress for those that are making less than a livable wage".

Uber said it had introduced "a series of new tools and support policies for drivers" in NY.

The recommended fine for alleged violations is believed to mark the first such citation issued against the San Francisco-based ride-hailing network or its competitors since the rules were adopted in 2013.

In February the IDG delivered a petition asking the taxi agency to make it mandatory that Uber offer in-app tipping.

An Uber spokesman said the company plans to review the proposal when it is officially released in the coming months. It's a long story, but the gist of it is, Uber was briefly required to allow drivers to solicit for tips as part of a huge, $100 million settlement with a class of drivers who were suing for being wrongly classified as independent contractors.

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The company, which operates in 74 countries, says it now has 147,000 drivers on the Uber platform in California, accounting for almost one-fourth of its US total. The TLC said it will propose the rule by July.

New York City wants to make it easier for Uber drivers to earn a bit more money in tips.

A pro-tipping rule in NY would be a big victory for the Independent Drivers Guild, an organization that Uber helped set up a year ago in conjunction with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a trade union. As Uber faces myriad controversies this year, it's locked in intense competition with Lyft Inc. for drivers, and any worker who feels tipping is important can easily switch to Uber's rival. While digital tipping has yet to go mainstream outside of cafes and taxis, American consumers are more likely to touch-type a tip if the staff member is standing (or sitting) expectantly nearby.

The IDG estimates tipping will be worth an extra $300m (£238m) to drivers in the city every year.

'It's just not possible to make it on straight UberX rates, ' said Jim Conigliaro, the guild's founder.

The Guild has pledged not to try to formally unionize unless drivers' legal classification changes.

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