New York’s Taxi commission to propose in-app tipping requirement for Uber

The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will move forward with a proposal to require any car services that accept payment exclusively via credit card to offer a tipping option via the same means, the New York Times reported Monday. The proposal seems designed mostly to force Uber’s hand, requiring the ride hailing service to offer an in-app tipping option, something it’s been reluctant to introduce thus far.

The TLC’s announced proposal will be just an initial step towards implementing the rule, and would still require formal introduction sometime within the next few months, and then a public hearing soliciting feedback from members of the community, and then a vote to decide whether to implement or reject the proposal.

The new proposed new rule comes after the Independent Drivers Guild (IDG), a group that represents Uber drivers in the city, put forward a petition and received over 11,000 signatures supporting the implementation of an in-app tipping option. Under the proposed rules, anyone exclusively accepting cash would be able to continue accepting cash tips and not required to offer a card-based tipping method.

IDG founder Jim Conigliaro, Jr. provided the following statement regarding the TLC’s proposal:

Today’s decision is a vitally important step forward for drivers. In-app tipping will mean a raise of hundreds of millions of dollars for New York City drivers each year. Drivers have long been denied access to the kinds of benefits and labor protections many workers take for granted, such as paid sick leave or the minimum wage. As a result, New York City’s professional drivers have traditionally depended on gratuities for a substantial portion of their income. Cuts to driver pay across the ride-hail industry has made tipping income more important than ever,

Uber, when contacted, offering this comment via a spokesperson regarding the potential new rule:

We have not seen the proposal and look forward to reviewing it. Uber is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers and we are constantly working to improve the driver experience. That’s why, in New York City, we partnered with the Machinists Union to make sure current and future Uber NYC drivers have a stronger voice and launched a series of new tools and support policies for drivers.