Our Approach to Tipping

Last week, we settled two class-action lawsuits in California and Massachusetts. As part of that settlement, we agreed to clarify our approach to tipping, so here goes.

When we started Uber six years ago, we thought long and hard about whether to build a tipping option into the app. In the end, we decided against including one because we felt it would be better for riders and drivers to know for sure what they would pay or earn on each trip — without the uncertainty of tipping.

That’s still the case today. Tipping is not included, nor is it expected or required. In fact riders tell us that one of the things they like most about Uber is that it’s hassle-free. And that’s how we intend to keep it.

In addition:

  • Studies have shown that the connection between tipping and quality of service can be weak. Many people tip because it’s expected — even if service is bad. And tipping is influenced by personal bias. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we tend to tip certain types of people better than others. This means two people providing the same level of service get paid different amounts. With Uber, drivers know that they earn the same for doing the same trip, no matter who they are or where they’re from.
  • Tipping could give drivers an incentive to spend more time where tips are likely to be highest — typically the wealthiest neighborhoods. We’ve worked hard to provide a service that reliably serves entire cities and is not just concentrated in central business districts.

All that being said, some riders want to tip their drivers. While we estimate it happens on only a very small percentage of trips in the U.S., riders are free to offer tips and drivers are welcome to accept them. Again there’s nothing new here.

We’re more than happy to explain how we think about tipping. But it’s important to note that last week’s settlement has not changed our approach in any way. In it, we simply agreed to “clarify [our] messaging regarding tipping … that tips are not included on Uber’s platforms (except on UberTAXI), and that tipping is neither expected nor required” within 180 days after the settlement receives final approval.

Other ridesharing apps do have a built-in tipping option. That competitive pressure means that we have to demonstrate Uber offers more stable, reliable opportunities to earn money than the alternatives. And that’s what we are focused on: ensuring that Uber is the best experience for drivers across the world.