Do You Tip Uber Drivers? Here’s Why I Feel Guilty When I Don’t

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I’m a huge fan of Uber, and use them all the time. I don’t remember the last time I voluntarily used a taxi in a city where Uber is popular (there are some exceptions, like when I’m abroad and am not using cell phone data, where it can be tough to connect with a driver).

Uber is far from perfect, and as they become even more popular, they’re also taking on some more taxi-like behavior (drivers canceling rides they don’t want, etc.). Still, they’re so much better than the taxi industry, which has been run like a government organization for far too long due to the lack of competition.

UberBLACK is often only marginally more expensive than taxis, but gets you a black car. It’s especially awesome in LA, since a vast majority of UberBLACK cars are also SUVs, and sometimes even UberLUX cars (like a Mercedes S500, BMW 7-Series, etc.), which you then get at the UberBLACK price.

But the most useful thing is that UberX in LA is really cheap (which is true in many other cities as well). They charge just 90 cents per mile. As a point of comparison, LA taxis charge $2.70 per mile, so UberX costs a third as much as a taxi.

UberX-Fares-LA

So how much did my ~13 mile, ~47 minute trip cost? $18.28! I had a free ride of up to $15, so my “out of pocket” was under $5.

Uber-Cost

I believe the driver gets 80% of the fare, meaning in this instance the driver gets $14.62. And that’s for driving their car for 13 miles for nearly an hour, and that doesn’t factor in the amount of time the driver spent waiting for a call, driving to pick me up, then driving to wherever they needed to go next, gas, and depreciation of the car.

I’m all for the free market and that driving down prices, but is there such a thing as a ride being so cheap that you feel guilty?

Uber says tipping isn’t “needed:”

You don’t need cash when you ride with Uber. Once you arrive at your destination, your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file — there’s no need to tip.

I don’t tip with UberBLACK, but I’m always conflicted with UberX, at least in markets where rates are really low (clearly in an attempt to drive out Lyft/the competition):

  • I believe in “living and letting live,” so while I understand this is what they charge and that’s “not my problem,” I also sort of feel like I’m taking advantage of people when I take UberX in LA?
  • Is there some aspect to the “math” I’m missing that makes UberX worthwhile for drivers, or how does one even have the potential to do better than minimum wage with UberX in LA (or heck, even earn minimum wage)?

Bottom line

Maybe I just need to get over myself, but I do sort of feel guilty every time I take UberX in LA, and feel like I should tip. If I have cash, I usually do tip. But at the same time that takes some of the value out of Uber for me, as one of the things which makes it so awesome is that it’s cashless.

Ultimately drivers choose to work with Uber, and presumably they do so because it gives them schedule flexibility, let’s them be their own boss, etc. At the same time, UberX is literally a third of the price of a taxi, and I’d tip when I’m in a taxi, even though service in an UberX is consistently better.

What say you — do you tip your UberX drivers?

Comments

  1. I’m with you–it’s just too cheap. But more importantly is that Uber under weights time vs distance. I had a 1h45m 35 mile ride today that was $42. That’s insane. Even if you grant that the drivers sign up to work the service, that’s just not enough money.

    I usually take Lyft and tip in app, but with Uber I tip on any 15m+ ride.

  2. Carlos reports that he has been told by Uber drivers that they average about $20 per hour. From what I was told today, that is an old figure. Uber reportedly has cut driver pay substantially recently, in a fare war with Lyft.

    IMHO, it’s good to tip Uber drivers.

  3. Tipping is stupid. Like drip pricing – it’s this much but then you have to “voluntarily” add a tip, tax and whatever other BS fees they like to charge. You have to pay it so including the full price upfront.

  4. I don’t tip them unless something unique happens. I like to think the free market will take care of it. Personally I’m trying to support lyft (by using it, but still not tipping) because I want there to be at least 2 companies in the market long term. A lot of these drivers seem to be on both services anyway, so if they don’t like what they’re getting from Uber, they should just pickup more Lyft rides, or vice versa.

    A hamburger at McDonalds is cheap. We don’t tip them because it’s so cheap. We get excited because OMG that’s so cheap. If a company prices itself out of business (not enough revenue, drivers quit, etc) that’s its own fault.

    There are rough business models and deals in the miles and points world that we take advantage of all the time, even though we know it’s a bad long-term business strategy on the part of whatever credit card company gave that too generous offer, or whatever store is allowing reload funding through credit cards.

  5. Every single Uber driver I have ever talked to has said that the tip is NOT built in. I don’t understand this—you have no qualms about spending thousands and thousands of dollars for a single luxurious flight but you won’t give a driver a few extra bucks?

  6. In panama I was stuck in a traffic jam inside an Uber for 2 hours and we pretty much did not move. When I arrived at my destination I was sweating thinking that I was gonna pay a huge sum of money. To my surprise I paid $4.70!!! Thats insane! We did only moved like two blocks before I canceled the trip and decided to walk, but I was in that Uber for two hours!

  7. Would you tip a flight attendant? The price is the price, and I don’t understand why it is expected to tip certain service providers, but not others.

  8. Tipping is one of the reasons that Uber can continue to lower the rates that they pay and creates a market distortion. Very quickly this can turn into the food service industry where Uber pays their drivers less and less with the expectation that tips will make up the difference.

  9. My uberx dude in NYC said he makes close to $50 an hour…but I think the rates are little better there then in LA.

    I never tip on surge since I think that is where they make their non tip rides back…but I will tip 2-3 bucks if the driver is really cool or if it is a really short trip.

  10. I don’t tip either. I’ve also had drivers who refused to accept my tip since that’s one of the reasons why it became so popular.

    Just don’t like how Lyft operates a bit differently when it comes to tipping. There are also drivers out there who would give a lower rating for not having received a tip.

  11. I take a *lot* of UberPool in LA, usually pairing up with a co-rider about a third of the time. (The only time I take UberX is when I’m in a hurry, unlike two different people heading towards the airport who clearly missed their flights because they chose UberPool.)

    Most of the drivers seem relatively happy with the rates they get. I’ve spoken with some drivers who wait for a surge, and drive only then, and the rest of the time sit at Starbucks working on their thesis or screenplay or whatever.

    It’s supply and demand. At the point Uber pays too little, the drivers will flee.

  12. Next time you are on a regional jet, remember that your first officer is more than likely making about the same as that UberX driver. People know what the pay is when they sign up to do a job.

  13. Once I was in south America hanging out with a German couple in a cafe. When it came time for the bill and for the tip the guy thought about the average salary in that country, how much that is per hour, then how much the server should make, then how much the tip in local currency should be and how much that was in euros. It wasn’t much in euros but it shows your character when you spend so much time worrying about an amount meaningless to you but very meaningful to the other person. Anyway back to Uber, I have nothing more to add.

  14. Never!

    This is a major problem. People need to stop this stupid tipping culture.

    Do I get a tip at work for doing my job?

  15. I live in NYC and I sometimes tip. The rates here are high enough that I don’t feel as though the drivers are severely underpaid in most circumstances (that is not the case in pretty much every other city where Uber operates where I almost always tip). I live in Brooklyn, so if I drag an Uber driver there at a weird time when Manhattan is fairly busy but my neighborhood is not, I tip as I know there is a decent chance of them driving fareless back to Manhattan. I also tip, as others have mentioned, for short distance trips that take a long time as Uber fares are way distorted to underpay the driver in that circumstance.

    I’m all for a free market economy and whatnot, but I do think its sometimes gross that Uber forces its employees (and despite what Uber says, many of its drivers should legally be considered “employees”) to bear the costs of their expansions and market-domination. Uber profits when they hit such a critical mass in a city that they dominate the market share, they achieve this by massively undercutting existing services. That’s fine that they want to do that, but their employees shouldn’t be forced to subsidize Uber’s expansion, while Uber ends up reaping most of the benefits. That’s why I feel obliged to tip when I feel like the rate I was charged is simply untenable for the driver to have any chance of making money.

  16. @BOSflyer: Are you a simple-minded person who paints all occupations/ people with one stroke? You might like to live in Kuwait where all meat cuts or vegetables are sold for one price: Filet mignon equals hamburger meat( not applicable to super markets catered to westerners).
    It is not so much that they choose to drive or not for a living. We do not know the reason. But they work with no benefits and incentives which is much better than those who are on government handouts and shoot up drugs with booze and have kids that society has to raise. But when people earn below a living wage in this country while the CEO/ founder/ executive rake in millions or billions, there is something seriously flawed with the system, morally, ethically and financially. Free market is not the best system if you are not at the top of the food chains. Have compassion and sympathy for those who are struggling and working hard.

  17. Never. But where I am confused is at restaurants where you line up to order and then seat yourself with a number which someone uses to drop off your food. Who do I tip:

    a. the cashier?
    b. the food deliverer?
    c. the guy who cleans up the table when I done
    d. all or none of the above

  18. @carlos

    It used to be $20 an hour (before counting expenses) but after all the price slashing it’s just not worth it for me to drive anymore.

  19. I’ll tip a driver whom I feel delivers a service above what would be “expected”.

    Someone who comes, picks me up, Has the radio on a station which they like but doesn’t ask me if I like it too, takes phone calls during my ride longer than “I’ll call you back in a few minutes” gets base fare.

    If I want that type of service, I’ll take a taxi.

  20. when uber charges surge pricing, do the drivers feel guilty? i think they are happy than feel guilty.
    screw tipping uber.

  21. Stop the tipping nonsense, Part X. The point of tipping has been completely lost in this culture. Stop tipping people just for doing their job (e.g. pushing buttons on the cash register). Stop feeling guilty for not somehow raising this person’s wage single-handedly. You are using this company’s services, therefore you are perpetuating the need for an (this) employee. In addition, I have come to the conclusion that the only way this kind of thing is becoming the norm is that no one budgets or pays their bills anymore. {rant over}

  22. I don’t ever carry cash. Therefore, I don’t tip Uber. Ever. This is what Uber is known for. This is Uber’s business model. Why are we trying to change it? If Uber really wanted us to tip drivers, they’d put the option in the app.

  23. I don’t tip with Uber. There’s too much tipping anyway, but in this case tipping undermines the value proposition of the service.

    I wouldn’t really have a problem with tipping if it was built into the app. One of the real selling propositions of uber is the seamless nature, on the front end that means tracking a vehicle as it approaches you on the back end it means just getting out of the car. No fumbling for cash, no needing to have the right amount, no making change, etc.

    Plus a lot of my Ubers are for work, and it’s great I have an electronic record of the ride as a receipt. Now I have to start tracking tips too?

    So no, I don’t tip Uber. And let’s not parse whether tipping is ‘needed’ it isn’t part of the Uber proposition if it isn’t part of the Uber app.

  24. I tip with 5 STARS. I tell the driver when I get out, “Five Stars!” It’s their business plan. I do surge pricing judiciously. last week it was 2.4, but driver spent 4 minutes practically spinning in place 8 blocks away, so I cancelled. next ride surge was only 1.4. 🙂 Also Uber drivers seem to better accept your directions. Many welcome it.

  25. If you feel guilty don’t take them. You don’t have to ruin it for people not as wealthy as you. If you feel your taking advantage of uberx drivers take only the black car. If you would rather not pay someone 10 dollars for their service don’t take them and pay them nothing. I am sure they will appreciate that much more. You don’t know if these people are “struggling and and working hard” They may or may not be but it’s pretty arrogant to make assumptions so that you can be their champion. You talk about rich CEOs but you just make them richer by not having to pay more because you feel the riders should pay half their employee’s wages. Free markets work. Allow people to have pride, allow them to struggle and allow them to succeed.

  26. One of the key ideas behind uber is that it’s simple and tips are included. Anybody deciding do drive for uber knows that… If it doesn’t pay enough, they shouldn’t drive…
    And uber has a build-in market mechanism to pay fairly: the much dreaded surge pricing. If not enough drivers want to drive, the price goes up and drivers earn more… Simple and effective…
    There are so many drivers, because it’s easy to earn some extra money. If it was not enough pay, fewer people would drive for uber…

  27. If this tipping disease spreads to Uber, I’ll stop taking it. I’s so good now when tipping is not expected and Uber has not been yet contaminated with that toxic American tipping culture.

  28. Absolutely not. The whole point behind Uber – and the big selling point they advertise to the general public – is that it is a cashless operation with “all-in” pricing. Drivers should know this when they sign up; sorry, but if you expect your riders to tip, then you have a competitor that you can readily work for called Lyft. If they want to change the setup to where you can tip within the app, then fine, I might consider giving one to a driver that provides exceptional service. But if I’m expected to give cash tips to drivers, what’s the point of using Uber?

  29. I pay surge pricing way too often to feel bad about the prices they make when it isn’t surge. The main times I take Uber are Friday night, Saturday afternoon and night, and Sunday afternoon. Literally every single ride out of my past 20 rides has been surge pricing due to so many people taking uber to/from the bars in DC at night or to/from restaurants for lunch/brunch on the weekends. It was surge at 3:45AM the other night and the app showed 6 cars close by.

    As long as drivers don’t mind their riders getting charged a surge of 2-3x, riders shouldn’t mind not tipping the drivers.

  30. Why wouldn’t you tip them you cheapskate.

    Do you tip a taxi driver…yes. Worthless waitress…yes.

    Of course tip them–DUH!

  31. Looks like Ben needs some traffic for the site today, which is why the hot topic of tipping has emerged again. If you feel so big-hearted then tip by all means. However, the consequence of some people doing that is that it will gradually become compulsory for everyone to tip, and compulsory tipping is false advertising at best.

  32. No tipping. First of all, part of the beauty of uber is the payment process. Ie, I don’t need cash and I don’t need to mess with a credit card swipe. If that changes, uber loses some value to me.

  33. The next time your inside of an uber X, ask yourself, would I do this for the same rates as these drivers are being paid? Maybe your unaware of how much the driver actually gets from each fare. Without boring you with all cost involved, just know that the driver actually only receives 55-60% of a minimum fare. In some cases, depending on distance and time, the driver can make upto 60-70% of the fare. The rest goes to uber. Uber’s net worth is 65 billion! With 0 cars. All the cost goes to the driver. Ok, so now you know how much they will receive from your fare. But why are they doing it for so little?!? Uber X drivers are stuck in a situation that they cannot control. The rates weren’t always this low, but uber controls the app and sets the prices, without justification or warning to the driver. They drive because it’s still better than not having enough to feed their families until they can find another job or in hopes that uber will eventually raise rates again. You will never hear this from your driver from fear of receiving low ratings from passengers. Yup! Ratings effect your drivers ability to continue driving. So naturally they want you have the best experience during your ride besides the fact that they actually enjoy what their doing. Finally, tipping is appreciated, just because uber discourages it doesn’t mean the driver doesn’t deserve one. If your willing to tip a taxi ride that less than great, why wouldn’t you tip an uber driver that surpassed the experiences you’ve received from taxi’s. He did go out of his way to pick you up and send you to your destination, were a regular cab would have declined the ride knowing you were only going a mile down the road.
    -from an uberX driver

  34. Tipping is out of control in this country.

    I’ve actually seen tip jars at McDonald’s…yes that’s right! Everyone wants a tip for doing their job.

    I’m glad that there are big players in the restaurant industry who are trying to do away with the whole tipping practice by paying their workers more and raising prices slightly. Takes the pressure off customers and the awkward dance away.

    If Uber’s business model is built around a no-tipping policy, then we should go along with it. Uber drivers know they might not get tipped so often they cut out the small talk and don’t help with bags, and that’s fine. I don’t need that and I’d rather save a few bucks.

  35. @Stannis: In that situation (and for take-out) I still leave a 5-10% tip. It’s for the kitchen, not the service (kitchen staff gets a cut of the tips at most restaurants). My sister’s a chef and pointed out that she does the same amount of work whether I eat at the bar, get served at a table, or do take-out.

  36. Please ***STOP*** this habit. It is disgusting. One of the BEST things about Uber is that you just get out and go. No math. No bills or coins. And now types like you are RUINING UBER. ***STOP***

    Please give a lot to any of these: http://www.charitynavigator.org/. It will make much more of a difference than “tipping” a well-compensated service provider who chose to drive for Uber.

    Every time you take an Uber, put the “tip” in a jar. At the end of the month, send it to your charity. You will sleep much better at night knowing that your hard-earned money will buy medicines to save a life instead of buying cigarettes for a driver.

  37. Uber, at least the 43% of the time it’s not gouging (San Francisco data), is cheaper than taxis because with taxis it’s the taxi company that makes all the money, not the driver (drivers often pay $100+ just to start the shift, and need to bribe the dispatcher to get calls and, if renting a cab, the mechanics so they don’t get a dud car — a form of “tipping”). That’s why many Uber drivers are former cabbies, as they make more money that way.

    So don’t feel bad based on what you pay. You should never tip an Uber.

    http://blog.priceonomics.com/post/47636506327/the-tyranny-of-the-taxi-medallions

  38. Of course I tip them. When they show up on time in a nice clean car that smells good and they are friendly and get me to my destination on time, they deserve a tip.

    If you don’t like American culture, fine. I probably don’t like things about your culture either.

    My tips also make up for the rest of you that are “above tipping”. You’re welcome.
    C’mon, most of us here make a lot more than these people do. What is the harm of a few bucks.

  39. Tipping is just stupid. Only stupid Americans do that.
    When you are travelling in Asian/European countries, you never need to think about tipping.
    Services is always included as part of the price tag.
    This whole tipping thing like other stupid habits is formed only in the US.
    haha

  40. I’m generally annoyed by the need to tip for anything and everything in the US but do often feel that UberX drivers should be tipped. In many US cities UberX prices are so ridiculously low and the service is far superior to a taxi.

    Uber should introduce a feature to tip in-app though. The fact that it is (or was) a fully cashless transaction was one of the biggest selling points for me.

  41. One of your Boarding Area colleagues has driven for Uber. You can read all the posts at http://jetsettershomestead.boardingarea.com/category/jetsetter/cars/uber/. If nothing else, read the Jan 19 2015 post.

    TL/DR, an 8 hour shift yielded fares of $78.47 – or an effective rate of $9.81 per hour. After Uber’s cut, $6.30/hr. After deducting expenses at the IRS mileage rate, $1.19 per hour taxable.

    Clearly, Uber rates are too low, and from what I’ve read, the company is losing money as they strive for market share. But tipping isn’t the answer. Restaurant tipping sucks because the 20% and 25% tippers “subsidize” the 15% and 10% tippers, and the stiffs. Uber is likely worse, because many (most(?) riders don’t tip. I’ll tip if I ask the driver to do something out of the ordinary, like pick me up at an airport where he shouldn’t, or take a slower but shorter city street route instead of the highway.

  42. Drivers often cancel rides that have been accepted. Reason is your destination is too short of distance and the driver may be too far from your location. Divers have to make profitable business decision with each trip, with current rates drivers have to very careful and selective.

  43. To be honest I find that american tipping culture annoying if not rightout stupid. Just get ur act together over there and charge what is due.

  44. I use Uber X about 5 times a month. I almost always tip Uber X drivers $2 (or $3) because I only use Uber X for trips that are less than 5 miles and therefore the fare is usually under $10. Their “cut” of that fare covers their gas/mileage with only a few dollars of profit. Its the least I can do for arriving at my destination safely.

    I also tip hotel housekeeping $1 or $2 per night.

    Every little bit helps these folks make a living in the service industry. It also feels good to show my appreciation for a job well done.

    Its also good karma.

  45. I don’t tip taxi drivers, who drive insured cars and pay for taxi licenses (which are not cheap), mostly because taxi fares are usually already pricey enough to merit a livelihood. Uber is a cheaper option, and their drivers know that, which is why most drivers won’t prompt you for a tip.
    Do you tip bus drivers, or check-in agents? Just because tipping exists in an industry doesn’t mean its appropriate or necessary.

  46. Tipping was built into the black car rate when they started. It was 1.5 times rate of taxi tip was built in at that point. Uber then lowered rate after drivers took loans to buy cars also changed classification of cars so most black car now had to do uber x. It was still good then not only did they cut rates again they so they took an extra 5 % as of April in NYC. It was still livable. The latest cuts are harsh 20 percent and escaslades are forced uber x and pool you can’t sell car you are stuck. People are so used to nice service and clean car they take it for granted. This isn’t a tip jar at McDonald’s this is someone you entrust your life getting you to point a-b an intelligent conversation great experience just 1.00 would help with ever rising cost. Been doing it for 5 month loved it new cuts make me resent uber. Did all figures on a price before car purchase and then they cut rates after locked in to car. They are trying to destroy people’s lives in taxis. America used to Stand up for abuses of employers. I always tipped a driver before I driove I can’t believe how
    many people have no idea what is going on.

    I hear all the time your so knowledgeable the other uber drivers don’t know where there going anymore that because I’m uber black forced to do uber pool. I cancel most an no longer can work in those areas. I used to accept 100% if rides I didn’t care if they went a mile since new rates force a cut in service that I don’t want to do.i had to cancel 5 jobs because over 8 miles away it makes me sick to give poor service. Airport runs are even becoming unprofitable. A 15 percent pay cut is actually 30%. Because it only comes off the profit the cost of car and depreciation doesn’t go down.
    I now only do enough hours to pay for car it’s a shame I loved the arrangement but if rates don’t go back forced to leave so enjoy your 5.00 coffe and put life into perspective.
    You are happy for a huge company to rip off workers and if there is something that happens to you they will wash their hands of it because only the driver is liable in Nyc.
    I tip excessively in the other states this rates are ridiculous most people don’t have an idea of how much they have to make as opposed to how much they pay out and they don’t find out till they do the taxes at the end of the year. Si while the gross rate sounds great. 30 gross is 15 net at best.
    I’m sure the people at McDonald’s doesntt pay close to 10000 to do their job in insurance cost. I am not complaining about the job only company that lied to lock us in.
    If the tip was included how come when the commission went up the tip got the 25% also.
    Yes not only a cashless society but a classless one too.
    I do not think uber black needs a tip that has stayed the same but uber x is being exploited and the world is ok what’s next let Travis break the child labor laws because the are subcontractors and it doesn’t apply to them.

  47. Ask a yellow cab driver what %ge of the fare he gets from the cab co. and, if he even bothers to answer, you can bet it is well under 80% !

  48. Wow, Americans are really obsessed with tips. I wonder if you even dream about it while you sleep. I am so happy and relieved that we don’t have to worry about tips every day of our lives here in Europe.

  49. I recently took Via, a ride-sharing service in NYC, which was having an introductory mid-day special of $4 for almost all Manhattan locations. I was the last passenger to reach my destination, crawling over 30 minutes in midtown traffic. Knowing that a taxi ride would have easily cost $30 or more, including a tip, I would have felt extraordinarly cheap had I not given the Via driver a well-deserved extra $5.

  50. To the people saying “they know what price they’re getting and are free to leave”, it’s never that simple. Uber only accepts certain vehicles of a certain age, so your driver might have spent a big chunk of his savings on a new car, only to see his expected income get slashed. Think how it feels when you invest time and money into frequent flier miles, only to have the program announce a devaluation, then imagine it was your livelihood and how you put food on the table.

  51. I’ve tipped uber once, an uber pool with a set rate from my office to apartment of $21 (a cab would usually be $25-30). I didnt get matched with someone and traffic was so bad that the normally 20 minute ride took about 90 minutes. He was friendly and we have a nice conversation. I felt bad that he only got $21 for 90 minutes on a Friday in Manhattan rush hour so tipped him $20.

    Other than that, I dont tip. Yes, they may make less than a yellow cab driver and yes, they probably make less than I do, but its not my place to bring their salary up to my level. I dont tip the conductor on the subway, the guy driving the street sweeper or the cashier at the grocery store. They’re all making below average NYC salaries too.

    I do tip my doorman who goes out of his way to be helpful, my super who is always happy to do some minor repair work in my apartment in a timely fashion and my barber who always keeps some cold Harpoon IPA on hand so I can enjoy a beer with my haircut.

  52. Man I’ve never seen such a bunch of cheap entitled people in my life. The same ones crying that you should not tip, are probably the same ones that barely leave a tip for waiter or waitress. Cheap, cheap, cheap…probably millennials who feel they don’t have to.

  53. Man I’ve never seen so many people care whether or not someone else tips. If you want to tip, great. If you don’t want to tip, great too. You do you, blog buddies.

  54. The problem with people tipping Uber is that it starts to ruin the service for everyone else – the best part of Uber is just getting out of the car at the end of a ride, and never having to touch your wallet. If tipping becomes expected in a “non official” way by drivers because some people tip, it’s going to have a negative impact on those of us who use Uber as intended.

    Also, I don’t understand why I would tip someone just for doing their job. Tipping to me is for something that goes above and beyond what is expected. You’re paid to drive the car – so if all you do is drive the car, why would I pay you extra than the agreed upon rate?

  55. Interesting. In New York city I found uber to almost always be more expensive than yellow taxis. Yes, uber can be much more convenient, especially if you are on a street where no yellow taxis are around, but in NYC, uber is almost always more expensive than taxis.

    So if I see a yellow taxi, I always hail it. I only order uber if no yellow taxis around. Plus, taxis have no surge pricing.

  56. This post is simply stupid and hypocritical. It is called economics 101: supply and demand. Ok? Nobody is taking advantage of anyone.

  57. I’ve driven for Uber since November, I’ve never once ridden with them. I would never expect a tip, though I’ll never do as Uber suggests and remind the rider that tips are not necessary if they offer one. I would never drive for Uber if I were looking for a normal job. I have a full time job, and this enables me to work during spare time when I’m in the mood. If I could commit to working every day I’m off of my full time job, I’d be better off working at McDonalds. For instance, I drove 4 hours yesterday, did ten trips for a total of about 61.4 miles (Although many of those took 3-6 miles to drive to, so my total gas was closer to 90 miles.) I earned 65 net plus a 2 dollar tip. Minus say 7 bucks for gas, I earned about 60 bucks for 90 miles. Definitely not worth it if you factor in the government’s 56 cents per mile. Since Uber recently lowered rates, I believe a bunch of drivers left, and surges have become much more common (essentially taking rates back to where they were), and more than half of my rides were surge of 1.5X-2X. So if you factor the government mileage, I profited by $15 bucks, taking my hourly to $3.75. The psychology of it works though, it feels like making $15 an hour.

  58. Many, if not most, UberX drivers are doing this as a second or third job, to make some extra money in a way that’s very flexible with relatively little overhead. The low/unpredictable pay is part of that tradeoff. For those who want to drive full-time for a living, there are more conventional options out there that pay better, but they require more of a commitment. Is it unfair that an orchestra musician makes a salary with benefits, while the guy playing his saxophone on the street corner pulls in less than minimum wage? What about the amateur blogger who can’t live off his blog income, even though he works just as hard as a salaried newspaper reporter? Taxi drivers and Uber drivers are apples and oranges, to a large extent.

    I agree that it’s not cool for Uber to substantially slash prices (and driver pay) without warning, as it amounts to a bait and switch. But I love the fact that Uber is cashless, and I’d rather just pay a higher fare than feel pressured or guilted into tipping.

  59. Uber is in the process of instituting tipping – there will be a choice of 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. dollars per each ride as far as I know.

  60. Yes I have guilty feeling, if don’t tip. But starting to feel this is due to my American upbringing. Trying to evaluate my position and thank those who have made thoughtful comments. Uber user from LA.

  61. Tipping is idiotic. If they say no tip then that’s that. Americans need to get over the tipping. I’m for the price including what’s fair, and that’s it. No tipping. It’s gotten out of hand here. If we tip for things like uber x when it’s not required, why don’t we start tipping doctors , nurses, architects, bank employees, and other professionals too? There’s no limit to this tipping.

  62. I think enough was already said. One of the main selling points for Uber is is based on cashless transactions. You just get out of the car and that’s it. If I have to worry about the small bills in my pocket everytime I use Uber then (in just many cases), why bother? Especially in a place where taxis are almost everywhere like Manhattan or London?

    The problem with tipping Uber drivers is that once enough people start doing it, it will become just expected from everyone, and again it destroys the value proposition.

    And I agree with everyone that this American tipping culture is out of control. I travel around the world extensively and there is nowhere else where you feel that pressure to tip everyone and everywhere.

  63. I wouldn’t mind tipping if it was through the app, but a major issue with cash tipping is that it’s unlikely the recipient pays any income tax on that. Why should someone working for cash tips don’t have to pay taxes when others do?

  64. I’ve used them in many major USA cities. No issues except for NYC. many drivers get within a couple of blocks and want me to walk to them in order to find them. I’ve had some cancel when I say no and I’m charged $10. I recognize the drivers are independent but it’s hassle. Luckily, Uber has refunded this each time.

  65. You should tip when drivers take you places other drivers wouldn’t. When we were visiting Chicago, no drivers would take us anywhere near soldier field during gameday. The driver that took us got a nice tip.

  66. @John. People take Uber it because it’s 1/2-1/3 the price. I don’t believe for a second you’d really start taking cabs if Uber started making tips customary, what’d be the point?

  67. @ Stannis . . . Good Question, off the topic but nevertheless, good. Certainly NOT the cashier or the server so D or C (the “busboy” or “busperson” for those who like PC . . . Propaganda Compliance)

  68. If you have a good, safe driver-tip them so they stay in the business. If you don’t tip them they are destined to get out due to not making enough money. In that driver’s place will be bad, unsafe drivers.

  69. I hate the tipping culture in this country where people expect you to tip. It is getting out of control. Do not expect tip from me. If you feel you are being underpaid just raise your price and I will decide if I want to pay that much. Uber is great because I don’t need to reach my wallet. It is the convenience that makes the service so great. If I need to use my wallet I can take a taxi. I see my Uber rating is going down and is now 4.6. I am always very nice and polite to all Uber drivers but if that trend to reduce my rating keeps happening I will go back to taxi. Uber has to do something about this otherwise it will be bad for both drivers and passengers. I know passengers that are just getting pissed of that drivers are rating them low since they don’t tip and they are rating drivers down as well. This is not nice and has to be fixed.

  70. The tipping culture in the US is stupid. A tip should be given for exceptional service. Otherwise it doesn’t make any sense. At all.

  71. 1. Any story you hear from an Uber drive will predominately be “I’m barely makin’ it”….they wouldn’t want people coming in for competition by saying “I raked in $800 during my last shift!!” etc etc.

    2. One Uber driver I asked his best fare and he said it was D.C. to NYC, He said it was close to $2100 before Uber’s cut, etc.. You don’t see those stories being ranted about, do you.

    3. Tipping is insane in the US. I can’t stand the over-tippers or the tippers where you shouldn’t be tipping (like Lucky).

    4. @credit as for German’s thinking about what a tip should be, considering what they’d tip back home, they are doing a favor for the local server/whatever. If they followed their culture, it’d be less. And why, just b/c someone has lots of money, should they tip more for the same service?? It reminds me of friends that never went to college and figured anyone at the table who made more money than them, should foot the bar tab. It’s call FREE LOADERS!

    5. I can’t wait for driver-less cars. Can’t tip a machine. Don’t have to worry about inane chatter when you need to take a call or find some information Uber drivers can complain and buck for benefits all they want. Driver-less cars are coming and cabbies/uber/lyft drivers will be a thing of the past in the major cities.

  72. It’s fascinating how there are so many people on both sides of this issue, and I can see both sides of the argument (though tend to disagree with the idea that the few people who do tip are somehow ruining it for the rest of us).

    For me, I don’t tip because Uber doesn’t facilitate it, and therefore it doesn’t seem to be a normal part of the Uber experience. The few times I’ve taken Lyft, I have tipped, because you can do it right there in the app.

    Compensation is determined by what Uber is willing to pay its drivers and what its drivers are willing to accept. I tend to agree that in some markets the compensation is too low, but the answer to that is Uber either adding a tipping option to the app or paying its drivers more (and presumably passing a higher base cost on to consumers), either of which I’d be fine with.

    Tipping isn’t supposed to be a way to remedy the fact that a person isn’t paid a fair amount. If it was, I would tip at McDonald’s, and I would have tipped all of my teachers in school. Instead, I tip in situations where it’s customary. I don’t think Uber is one of those situations.

    I also think it’s only a matter of time before Uber forces other app-based competitors out of business and becomes the only option in town, at which point it will raise prices and we will all long for the days of cheap Uber rides.

  73. I love coming across Prius drivers and The non tipping Green mentality type people. I can pick them a mile away, I’m sure I bang some that are not as disgusting as most of you pretentious type people but hey Collateral damage comes in real life. I was once able to cite a leftwing scumbag almost $2,200 dollars in one car stop, he got the insurance card knocked off by the judge but still paid $1900 after court. That my friends is “Karma served up cold with RED and Blue Lights!”

  74. Let’s stop tipping all together because that’s what the majority of these cheap bastards want. Let’s stop tipping servers and valet drivers at restaurants, attendants at full service gas stations bellboys at hotels, and taxi and ride share drivers because these people make TOO MUCH MONEY. I mean tip a dollar????? Are you nuts??!! I’m going to use that dollar to buy a scratch ticket instead…. I would like most of these people to work in the food industry, taxi or ride share industry for aome time to see how much tip helps and how hard it is or any tip-based service as a matter of fact. SHAME ON YOU AMERICA

  75. @steve I take it you’re a cop. If so, you are simply a power tripping big f***ing dick and don’t deserve to wear the uniform. I remember when the norm was to respect cops not fear them. You suck.

    Tipping waiters in the US is necessary because they normally and legally make far less than minimum wage as they are considered to make their main money from tipping. Yes, this is a messed up system that I hope changes, but until it does, it is the standard business model.

    With Uber the standard model is no tip. So no tip. Somewhere above someone mentioned getting their rating extorted for a tip. That would be a certain one star from me if that ever happened, along with an email to Uber. If you want to tip, fantastic, but if it comes down to customers losing rating for not tipping, it’s not gonna last long. Tbh, if you as a rider are courteous, leave the car clean, and aren’t a pain in the butt for some odd reason, I can’t see what basis there would be for less than 5*. I saw my rating drop in NYC this week by .2 or something, but I cannot tell who did it. You can bet if I knew it was related to tipping and who did it, I would return a like rating. I always give 5* unless something is badly wrong and they don’t make an effort to fix it.

  76. Bartenders, waiters, valet and other people working in the service industry all get paid an hourly wage. They also don’t have to use their own gas, their own car, their own insurance and they don’t have to pay self-employment tax!

    PETER- If you request an uber for a trip that is less than 5 miles. This is what happens.
    “the uber driver can wait anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes to get a request for a ride. It takes him at least 5-15 minutes to get to you. When the uber driver gets to you, he takes you on a short 5 mile drive. After uber fee’s he makes anywhere from $2.70 to $6. So lets average 15 minutes of waiting for a request, then 10 minutes to get to you, followed by a 15 minute car ride. That uber driver spent 40 minutes of his time to make sure that you get to your destination in a pleasant and safe manner using his own gas and car! For that he gets less than $6 bucks. Now this does not include gas, wear and tear, or taxes.

    Most of you non-tippers excuse is “they don’t have to do it”. Yes, next time your hating on your job or tell other people you hate going to work, let them tell you. You don’t have to work there.

    So if you tip your waiter or bartender and you don’t tip your uber driver, especially if its a cheap ride, you are a cheap bastard. Bartenders make you a drink in less than 2 minutes and people have no problem with $1-$10 tips. An uber driver drives you for 10-60 minutes and tipping $1 is an uproar with you people. Someone doing 15 rides a day 5 days a week will make $324 extra a month if everyone would just tipped $1 for a comfortable, safe, friendly ride.

  77. O M G!!
    I love the arguments opposed to tipping!
    I’ll STOP TAKING UBER!! ( no you won’t, so just shut up!) Your to cheap to tip a dollar so your definitely not getting your entitled ars into a cab again to pay $2.70 a mile.
    WE NEED TO STOP TIPPING ALL TOGETHER!! Guess what buddy, tipping keeps your bar tab, food bill, hotel bill and a slew of other service related invoices down. Tips supplements pay. If businesses had to pay a higher rate of pay, your costs would go up. That $10 burger is now $13 and so on. Ever been to Europe??? No tipping and the service is efficient, but dam they can be abrupt and down right rude. No incentive or motivation to go that extra mile.
    NO ONE IS FORCING THEM TO DRIVE! “Its the economy stupid” Its called the sharing economy. Post recession technology boom. Peer-to-peer services. Uber, lyft, taskrabbit, doordash, postmates and the list goes on. Guess what… drivers bought into this business model “be your own boss” invested thousands of dollars on nice new cars only to have rates cut so low they can’t afford the cost of being their own boss. Not all drivers are aspiring actors. It is a new economy where consumers and companies are benefiting greatly, the problem is the person actually doing the job is getting screwed.

  78. From the Emily Post Institute, a guide to tipping:

    When and Where and How Much

    The following chart covers tipping guidelines for three of the most common times tipping is expected: at restaurants, during travel, and at salons. For more information, read about the finer points of tipping and holiday tipping.

    Restaurants:
    Wait service (sit down): 15-20%, pre-tax
    Wait service (buffet): 10%, pre-tax
    Host or Maitre d’: No obligation for greeting you and showing you to your table.
    $10-$20 for going above and beyond to find you a table on a busy night or on occasion, if you are a regular patron
    Take Out: No obligation; 10% for extra service (curb delivery) or a large, complicated order
    Home Delivery: 10-15% of the bill, $2-5 for pizza delivery depending on the size of the order and difficulty of delivery
    Bartender: $1-2 per drink or 15-20% of the tab
    Tipping jars: No obligation; tip occasionally if your server or barista provides a little something extra or if you are a regular customer.
    Restroom Attendant: $0.50-$3, depending on the level of service
    Valet: $2-$5. Tip when the car is returned to you.

    Travel:
    Skycap: $2 first bag, $1 per additional bag
    Doorman: A smile and a “thanks” when he opens the door, plus $1-$4 for carrying luggage; $1-$2 for hailing cab (add an extra $1 if it’s raining); $1-$4 beyond the call of duty.
    Bellhop: $2 first bag; $1 per additional bag; $2-3 for each additional service, such as room delivery.
    Housekeeper: $2-$5 per day, left daily with a note marked “Housekeeping – Thank you”
    Concierge: No obligation for answering questions. $5-10 for tickets or restaurant reservations; $15 for hard-to-get tickets or reservations (or 10-20% of the ticket price)
    Taxi Driver: 15-20% of the fare, but minimally $1; $2 for the first bag carried, $1 per additional bag.

    Salon/Spa:
    Hair Salon: 15-20%, ask to be split among those who served you
    Manicurist: 15-20%
    Facial, waxing, massage: 15-20%

    It should be noted, however, that many of these service providers are classified as employees, so they often have hourly wages and are able to negotiate with their employers for compensation. Despite Uber’s micromanagement of drivers as to who can accept trip requests, required 80% acceptance rates despite informing the driver of the anticipated length of the trip only after the rider is already in the vehicle, minimum rating requirements, and stipulations for minimum specifications for privately-owned vehicles, it is the case that Uber insists that their “driver partners” are independent contractors. The drivers do not get any minimum hourly wages. They do not have a say in how much the fare will be. They have to use an app that is poorly optimized. They may go an hour in between trip requests.
    Note that taxi rates in one market are

    Base Fare $2
    +Per Minute $0.41
    +Per Mile $2.40

    while Uber rates are

    Base Fare $1.00
    +Per Minute $0.11
    +Per Mile $0.65.

    Also, keep in mind that Uber doesn’t always inform their drivers when they lower their prices. The drivers tend to find that out when they check their bank balance and are confused about why they only received $50 for that week’s driving.

  79. If you are going to tip your taxi driver why not tip your uber driver? Uber drivers are using their own car. And every time uber rates go down the drivers pay goes down. I think it’s crazy people will pay a $2 tip to a bartender to make a drink or tip a driver to deliver a pizza but not a driver.

    I used to drive for Uber for extra income and enjoyed the flexibility. But since uber has cut their rates so much I will only drive when there is surge pricing, it’s not worth it for me to drive on the regular rates without getting tipped.

  80. Absolutely now you should. At least for uber x and xl. I’m a driver and I can tell you if it wasn’t for tips most drivers would quit and you’d be back to taxis. With no tips it’s easy to lose money working. That’s right. For example, Friday night I went out picked up a few people, drove a mile , drove 8-14 miles to pick up the next person only to drive them a mile and so on. Each of those trips after uber ‘s cut made 3.00! $3.00 for each ride, plus I drove 60 miles total, over an hour and made $9, but that cost me because I spent $10 in gas. If it wasn’t for the guy who tipped me it would’ve cost me money to drive people around. No thanks.

  81. As an Uber driver, tipping is most certainly not built in. I often drive 10 miles for a ride that is only 1-2 miles. I only make $2.66 off that ride and spent 15-20 on it and essentially make absolutely nothing or even lose money. A tip of only $2 or $3 goes a long way.

  82. This thread is everything that’s wrong with society.

    Americans want superior service, but don’t want to pay for it. You complain about Taxi service, yet say Uber drivers get what they deserve.

    You think you’re elite because you work in an office, or (insert anything but a service industry career here) and probably went to college. Woah! Now, here’s the problem…

    Complaining about the fact that Uber X drivers (and the like) want to be compensated for more than the cost of their car, gas, insurance and time proves that you’re another sheep in the U.S. farm. Now before you go off, guess what? I went to college, too. And, I have two degrees and recently chose to drive for Uber X, Lyft and Postmates as I have a future goal. A goal that’s not about me, but devoting my time to causes that matter.

    Then I find this post. My god, most of you who commented on here are cheap, self-entitled and ignorant. I’m disgusted by all of you who DISAGREE with tipping somebody who’s saving you from a DUI, being late to work, etc.

    Question – because you signed up for your shitty office job, does that mean I get to demean you on your 30-60 min lunch break? I’ll jump out of my Uber car and berate you in front of your peers? Or at best, give you a what for on life? Because I’d be happy to do either. Seriously. I’d love to hear how your position in life is better than mine, or many others who choose to cart and serve your entitled selves through life.

    Entitled Millennials and those who sympathize – you’re the problem. Quit your jobs and move to an island of instant gratification. Nobody will visit.

  83. Jesus, what a bunch of cheap, entitled assholes on this thread. Seriously, I can’t imagine what sorry & miserable lives you all lead where the idea of tipping someone for sitting your ass in the back of their car so they can drive you a few miles & get paid the exorbitant sum of about $5-$7 (before taxes, gas, & wear and tear on the car). Honestly, would $1-2 put you out THAT much?

    I’ve not been doing this long & started it just to make some extra money to help catch up on some bills. I really do enjoy it, I’ve been to areas of this city I didn’t even know about & I now know where all the best bars & restaurants are. 99% of the people are friendly & seem happy and appreciative that I get them from point A to point B in a safe & efficient manner.

    Unfortunately, 99% of these same people also don’t tip which is starting to make driving for Uber more expensive than it’s worth. The fact is that most passengers are so thrilled with the lost cost of Uber & the convenience factor that even if Uber raised their rates by 20-30% all of these people (at least the vast majority of them) would still be thrilled and Uber’s drivers would be able to afford to keep doing this. However, Uber seems dead set to run Lyft & all of the other cab companies out of business and since Uber has ZERO of their own cars on the road & pays ZERO salaries (& the taxes & benefits that go along with having employees), they can continue to keep lowering the prices (& adding fees) until they’re the only ones left.

    One thing I’ll mention (& forgive me if someone else already has) is that we, as UberX drivers, rate you (just like you rate us). You get into my car & I drive you across town & you get out & don’t tip? That’s an instant one star for you. I don’t care how nice & pleasant you are. If you don’t tip, you’re a shitty passenger & you’ll be rated accordingly for the next driver to see. You get enough of those & one night you’ll be standing in the rain trying to get an Uber & all of the drivers will see your 4.0 rating and you’ll be walking home.

    I hope you brought an umbrella you cheap bastard.

  84. I’m a driver and a passenger in Austin, Texas. Reading the differing perspectives on tipping has been interesting, and I’d like to add my views on some of the topics presented:

    1. While advertisements promoting driving for Uber and Lyft may claim that drivers can make “up to $30/hr”, the reality is that after expenses, I make about $8/hr by performing many of my own repairs, memorizing areas where I can stop and shut off my car to wait for fares and minimize my fuel consumption,and filling in “slow” times by performing delivery jobs. (I also have my regular full-time job as well.)

    2. I agree that Uber should allow for a voluntary tipping option for those who want to do so. It definitely can be an inconvenience or even a personal security risk to pull out a credit card or cash for tipping the driver. I promote the use of the Venmo app for this purpose for those areas that only have Uber, or recommend other TNCs that have in-app tipping. If you’re coming to Austin, Fasten is the most popular of the TNCs in Austin’s city limits. It, like all of the new TNCs that operate in Austin after the voluntary departure of Uber & Lyft offer an in-app tip option, but also offers slightly higher mileage and per minute rates to improve compensation without tipping. My promo code BE7222 will get you $5 off of your first ride.

    3. As a driver, I vehemently disagree with the tactic of down-rating passengers who fail to provide cash tips before the ride is ended. Ratings are meant to distinguish between passengers who present a safety risk to the driver or his vehicle and those who don’t. Using ratings as a stick to coerce more money out of passengers who may very well be low-paid service employees themselves isn’t the solution. This thread’s tip critics are correct to point out that tipping is a patch over the real fault: the price war between the TNCs is paid for out of the drivers’ pockets.

    Rest assured, if you don’t damage or foul up my car or threaten my safety or that of fellow passengers, you’re getting a five star or thumbs up. If you’re kind enough & generous enough to add just 1-3 dollars in tip in app when I’ve taken you where you need to go via Fasten or Lyft, you’ve helped me pay for fuel to get people to work, to play, and earned yourself good karma as well. What a bargain! 🙂 (BTW, if you’re in Austin’s surrounding suburbs, Lyft is still available for rides in the suburbs or from the suburbs into Austin! Try promo code Bubba29879 for $10 off your first ride!)

    4. Many riders hate surge/prime time multipliers, and for obvious understandable reasons. Does anyone really want to end up paying 4-8x the normal fare to get to an event?!?!? I’d prefer to see a simple, citywide modest multiplier under 2x for high-demand times such as weekend nights around midnight-3am implemented across all of the TNCs instead of frequently unpredictable surges. In fact, there already is a TNC in Austin that works in this manner: FARE. (Yes, I have a referral code for them as well: Edward134. I recommend FARE to the customers who want higher level luxury car service, as most of the drivers with high-end cars prefer to work on FARE over the other TNCs.)

  85. until companies start paying employees enough, you gotta tip people.

    if you’re a mcdonalds employee who lives with his mom… don’t tip.
    if you’re a middle class tech who can afford a mortgage… tip 5$

    Uber is doing their drivers a favor by saying “tip not required” while still allowing drivers to be tipped. that way drivers don’t have to report it to the IRS.

    lyft provides the convenience of tipping on the app. if you don’t have cash on you, call a lyft. otherwise call an uber. If you just want to pay a fare and not tip, then call a cab and actually pay the correct price for the service rendered without trying to skirt the system because some driver is willing to be nice enough to let you take advantage of him.

  86. If you don’t tip your Uber driver, you’re a cheap, entitled a_hole.

    Let’s say your Uber driver drives 7 minutes to get you, and your ride is 5 minutes.

    Your Uber driver is making almost nothing.

    The least you can do is shoot the guy/woman an extra buck or two. Especially for the $4/$5 ride you would have paid a regular taxi $10 before ridesharing.

    Internet culture has made d__bags out of everyone.

  87. The same ones so butthurt about tipping a dollar are mostly the fake liberals i have a giant tip jar that says tips thank you on it about 5% drop something in it and usually not the rich douches going to their mansions 2 miles away from pickup there is very little profit in doing ride sharing for a driver

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