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Uber Finally Adds Tip Option, 2 Minute Cancellations and More

Uber Finally Adds Tip Option, 2 Minute Cancellations and More

Uber historically had been against tips on the Uber platform. Uber maintains that tipping ruins the entire experience of just getting into the car, going where you need to go and leaving the car without having to deal with cash or figuring out how much to tip. However, there have been so much negative press about Uber in the past three months that Uber needed to make some drastic changes.

Lyft had been well positioned since their large cash infusion last year. They used the cash to expand in many critical markets with more drivers, open up new cities and improve on their passenger and driver application. While Lyft had cut back some of their most popular driver programs like Power Driver Bonus, they have made some enhancements to their application to keep them one step ahead of Uber. The tipping option, along with the Power Driver Bonus where drivers can earn an extra 20% a week, was one of the biggest competitive advantages Lyft had over Uber. When the Uber CEO was invited to be on Trumps advisory board, many passengers started a #deleteuber hashtag and a noticeable percentage of Uber passengers left Uber to try out Lyft. With Lyft’s recent expansion, many passengers happily stayed with Lyft and Lyft’s system was able to handle an increase of passengers.

Uber’s 180 days of Change

Uber sent out an email to all drivers announcing that they were putting in many changes to Uber over the course of the next 180 days. The most important one would be the addition of the tip feature, but there are a few other smaller improvements that they announced yesterday:

You can read more at the below link:

Uber Finally Adds Tip Option

After many petitions and driver complaints, Uber has finally implemented a tip option. Unfortunately, it is only available in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston as of today, while Uber will slowly roll it out in other cities over the next few weeks. Uber expects the tip option to be nationwide by the end of July.

In the passenger app, the passenger can tip the driver after they rate the driver. On the initial screen, the option is for $1, $2, and $5, which is exactly the same as Lyft. On the driver side, you can see the tip either in the trip details or in the daily records of the trips.

Both of these screens are very similar to that of Lyft, so there is no huge surprises here.

How Drivers Can Start Getting Tips

As soon as tipping becomes available in your city, you’ll be notified in the app and by email. Drivers in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston are able to accept tips starting today. To start accepting tips from riders, you will need to follow these steps:

  1. Update or download the latest version of the Uber Driver app
  2. Be sure to close and restart your app
  3. Tap Accept Tips.

2 Minute Cancellation Window

The next major change is the cancellation window. Passengers now only have 2 minutes to cancel the ride, which is more inline with how passengers typically use the application. This is most helpful to drivers who often have to drive a long time (8+ minutes) to the passenger pickup and it is very frustrating when passengers cancel 5 minutes later. Most likely, the driver has driven a few miles and when the passenger cancels, this can cost the driver a dollar or two in mileage related costs.

This is one advantage that Uber now has over Lyft. Lyft still has the 5 minute cancellation window and this window is open even after you pick up the passenger. The Lyft passenger can cancel anytime within 5 minutes of the request and not be charged anything, which may include part of the trip payment. This is very frustrating for the driver in some rare situations and hopefully Uber can force Lyft to change their policy.

Paid Wait Times

Uber is now paying drivers to wait for passengers 2 minutes after the driver arrives at the passenger’s starting location. This is very similar to Lyft, but Lyft starts paying the driver as soon as they arrive. Lyft still has a very small advantage here, but considering most markets are around 20 cents a minute, having an extra 2 unpaid minutes isn’t too bad. Overall, this is a nice change for drivers in that they would be paid an extra 60-80 cents or so (3-4 minutes at 20 cents a minute) per trip, and at an average clip of just under 3 trips an hour, this is about $2 more an hour, which can amount to almost $80 after a 40 hour week.

All Driver Destination Trips Counts Towards Quest

For a long time now, Uber has removed hourly guarantees and implemented Quest Bonuses in which a driver needs to hit a trip requirement in order to get a bonus. The name of the game is to get as many rides as possible in the least amount of time so you can earn the bonus as fast as you can. Drivers often get fewer rides with the destination filter, so there should be no reason why Destination Trips shouldn’t be counted towards Quest. The destination filter should make it harder to hit Quest.

Quest Earnings Available for Instant Pay

Since Uber implemented Instant Pay, Quest Bonus was not available as part of the payout on Instant Pay, which can be a minor annoyance depending on how much money you have from Quest bonuses. Starting today, Quest will be available for payout as well, which should put more drivers earnings into their bank account. Some drivers live day to day, so this should help them out, especially those who earn a significant portion of their income with Quest.

Driver Injury Protection

This is the one feature that sets them apart from Lyft. Historically, neither Lyft’s or Uber’s commercial policy covered driver injuries, which came apparent to me two years ago when I heard about a driver who was hurt in an accident and had to pay for her medical expenses out of pocket. Certain states require independent contractors to get their own worker’s compensation insurance to better insure themselves in situations like that.

Uber identified that this was a potential risk to drivers so they came up with a system to protect drivers. At an additional 5 cents per mile cost to the passenger, Uber drivers now have driver injury protection in a few states and like these other improvements, they will expand to all drivers by July.

When are these changes going into effect?

For some drivers, they will see these changes immediately and most drivers will see these changes by the end of July.

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