- AP/Diane Bondareff
Uber drivers in Seattle, Minneapolis, and Houston can now accept tips via the company’s app, and more drivers will be able to accept tips soon, as the troubled ride-sharing company moves to mend fences with customers and partners.
Uber announced its new tipping feature via an e-mail sent Tuesday. It’s one of eight changes the company is making in June to kick off an initiative Uber is calling its “180 Days of Change“. The initial steps in that effort represent an attempt to make “meaningful changes and improvements” to driving for the company, Uber said.
“Some changes will be big, some will be small – all will be the changes you’ve asked for,” Uber told drivers in the e-mail.
Uber drivers have long been asking for the ability to accept tips in the company’s app. But the move to embrace the practice marks a big turnaround for the ride-hailing company. Uber officials previously rejected the idea, saying tipping would introduce a measure of “uncertainty” to the price of a ride. By contrast, rivals like Lyft – not to mention old-fashioned taxis – have long included the ability for riders to tip their drivers.
Other changes in the first wave of the 180-day effort include raising the per-mile earnings for drivers to help pay for increased accident insurance, and a new surcharge for any trip that’s requested from a teenager’s Uber account. As with tipping, Uber plans to roll out those changes on a city-by-city basis.
The new 180-campaign comes as Uber is trying to repair its image after being rocked by a series of scandals. Earlier in June, the company announced the firing of more than 20 people in response to an investigation into harassment and other complaints; Uber’s board said it would put in place 47 recommendations to change its culture and workplace; and company CEO Travis Kalanick said he would take a leave of absence from his post.