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Uber Riders Have Given $600 Million in Tips and Counting

June 21, 2018
7 min read
Uber App
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One year ago, Uber addressed its employees' wage concerns and adjusted its business model that originally boasted calculating tips into ride fares to start allowing passengers to tip their drivers. Since then, Uber drivers have collectively accumulated more than $600 million in tips from riders.

According to Uber data, the most popular times to tip in Uber are Friday at 2:12am, Saturday at 10:33pm and Sunday at 5:17am. The most generous cities are Salt Lake City, San Antonio, Kansas City, New Orleans and Nashville.

We asked the TPG Lounge if they typically to tip after an Uber or Lyft ride, and if the location holds a bearing over that decision. The responses were nowhere near black and white. Some find it imperative to tip as it is a service, some don't see a need to because of Uber's original business model. Others lie somewhere in between. We even had some Uber drivers chime in!

Riders Who Always, Always Always Tip

These Uber and Lyft users are set on dropping a tip for their drivers, even if it's just a couple of dollars. Uber was recently in the news for its low driver wages, so some riders justify their tip because it adds something extra to low fares that drivers only receive a percentage of. Others simply see it as common courtesy.

"If the service is above average I'd tip $2-3 if it's excellent I'd tip $5. I try to at least give the driver a gallon worth of gas. It can go a long way for the driver when you tip." - Adan B.
"The drivers lose a little over 20% back to Uber. I usually try to have my tip cover that 20%." - Yuleidy K.
"I look at it this way. If I utilize a ride share service, its because I am away from my personal car or out having a few adult beverages, etc when I (anyone) should not be driving. So, if the service is good, and its gets me home safe, two measly dollars is much more palatable than a DUI or god forbid injuring anyone, myself included. If someone (waiter, bellman, taxi, concierge) provides me a good service, I always tip." - Matt E.
"Wow. I can’t believe how many of you don’t tip! I always do, 20% every ride. To me it’s par for the course. I tip a cab driver every ride, so why treat an uber driver any differently?" - Kylie M.
"20% every time. Lyft service is exponentially more comfortable and more pleasant than cabs in my home city of Las Vegas, as well as much cheaper. Adding an extra $2-$10 per ride won’t effect my day negatively, and will most certainly help theirs." - Natalie F.
"The rides are so cheap in NYC now due to price wars That I can add a buck or two to the fare and have it be an inexpensive ride" - Brian C.

Riders Who Don't Think It's Necessary

As mentioned before, Uber's original business plan was appealing because the low fares included tip. In fact, it's something that was advertised. A precedent was set for riders not feeling obligated to tip the drivers, so for some, nothing has changed, even after Uber began to allow tips. Some have other reasons not to tip.

"I used Uber when tipping wasn’t encouraged and it was part of the business model (you don’t need to tip- it is built in). Now, they request tips, prices have gone up and Uber didn’t give a discount. For me, that makes it difficult to tip unless really excellent." - Brandi W.
"Nope. Drivers get the same cut in countries outside of the US and tipping is not an option on the app in said countries, so I shouldn't have to do it inside of the US either. I will always leave a review/rating though." - Bryan M.
"No tips. Perhaps if Uber hadn't included "Tips are already included in the fees, so you pay nothing extra" in their original marketing, people would have thought about it differently." - Allison C.
"Exactly! I don’t tip for fun in countries where it isn’t the norm. And I always tip taxis here. Uber said it was built in. Uber is sometimes more expensive than a cab...." - Brandi W.
"I don't tip. I purchase a service and I pay for the service. Simple. If the driver supplied an outstanding service and actually got me to my destination without running over old ladies or blind people, than it's a bonus and I might consider a dollar." - Santiago M.

It Depends!

Certain factors contribute to these riders' decision on tipping, whether it's the time of day, location, service or something else.

"I’ve been using Uber since tipping wasn’t supported or encouraged and was marketed as included and unnecessary. When they added tipping, prices stayed the same. My tipping hasn’t changed: I tip for exceptional service. If I’m going to the airport and the driver loads/unloads my luggage, etc." - Jimmy R.
"depends on the service and attitude of the driver. When I’m taking them out of the way e.g. to the suburbs late at night, I tend to be more generous" - Bob U.
"I primarily use Uber Pool or Lyft line and I will not tip for either of those unless someone does something exceptional, the cost is barely $4. If I have a bag and the driver lifts it into the trunk for me, I tip. On airport rides I always tip pool or otherwise a few dollars unless the driver is horrible and on rides that are longer I will tip a $1 or $2." - Lisa A.
"Only if I get exceptional service. My job doesn’t reimburse tips, so I never tip on business related trips." Pablo A.
"Yes, on cheap trips under $10. But I mostly tip the driver so that he gives me a 5 star rating, when I have loud friends with me." - Danny M.
"I usually tip but if my ride is less than half a mile I don't. I just don't think the ride is worth more than $5 bucks for something that short. Though if I still have Amex credits I'll add a buck or two." - Lily C.

Drivers Chime in

Some Uber drivers contributed their perspective on the subject, telling how they typically tip or like to be tipped.

"I tip after most rides. Having driven for Uber in my free time to make a little extra cash, I can say you'd be surprised how little Uber drivers make after expenses. Obviously, if they drive unsafely or there's an issue, then I don't tip." - Hunter F.
"As a Uber driver, I’m always in favor of people tipping. But I always go the extra mile to ensure I’m providing the best service possible to earn that tip." - Christopher M.
"Disclosure: I do drive for Uber with over 10,600 rides. I feel if your driver has done a good job, provided extra service, assisted with luggage, made some recommendations as to where to eat, what to see/do, etc...then, YES, you should tip the driver. Just like your food server, your barber or stylist or barista...they are providing a service and usually get a tip. Those that don’t tip, as a rule, are being cheap and/or are looking for any excuse not to tip." - Perry M.

Strange Scenarios

Not all riders' experiences are up to par with the rest. Here's how two TPG readers tipped in some rather unusual situations.

"Always use Lyft, and always tip 20% unless they are unsafe (like the dude texting and driving; reported that one), rude (yelling at me for having the side of my foot accidentally touch the door. That was nice), or gross (car filthy or smells like smoke). That was all this week lol." - Maggie M.
"One time I gave a creepy guy a few ones just so he would think I was nice and not kill me LOL I quit taking Uber ??" - Rachel H.
Featured image by Photothek via Getty Images