Uber heads in new direction with tipping option

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In an announcement to U.S. Uber drivers on Tuesday, the ride-hailing service said it will roll out a tipping function for its app in all U.S. cities by the end of July.

Lyft Inc., which is Uber's chief ride-services competitor in the US, has long allowed drivers to collect tips through its app. Lyft said on Monday its drivers have collected a total of $250 million in tips during the company's lifetime, $50 million of which was collected in the last couple of months.

The new feature, which will be available to both riders and users of the UberEATS service that has become the go-to way to burn even fewer calories while ordering a Big Mac, is rolling out in Houston, Seattle, and Minneapolis as of today, according to a post on Uber's website.

The company said it will introduce tipping for drivers, something it has strongly objected to in the past.

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Among other changes made to satisfy drivers was the implementation of a new policy that allows them to collect a fee if a rider cancels after two minutes.

On the other hand, riders who keep drivers waiting outside for more than two minutes will begin to incur additional "per minute" fees.

Riders will be charged by the minute if they keep an Uber auto waiting for more than two minutes. The changes are a part of "180 Days of Change", during which the company says it will "share major improvements that will make driving more flexible and less stressful, giving you earnings and support you can depend on". The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Uber's past usage of phony software created to thwart regulators. Recently, the scandal-ridden company fired more than 20 people after it had investigated over 100 sexual harassment complaints.

A proposed law in New York City could have forced Uber to enable in-app tipping in its largest USA market by the end of this summer, if it had been approved.

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Uber App open on a smartphone. An event is planned at Uber's "Green Light Hub" to reveal the change to drivers. "We know there's a long road ahead, but we won't stop until we get there". The company so far has prevailed.

If you decide you would like to tip, your driver is welcome to accept. In fact riders tell us that one of the things they like most about Uber is that it's hassle-free.

A backlash could deepen Uber's losses, which totaled $2.8 billion a year ago.

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