Uber adds tipping

After years of refusing to add a tipping option for drivers, Uber is finally adding tips to its application as part of an outreach program to riders and passengers.

The company, which has seen so much trouble on so many fronts in recent months it’s nearly impossible to encapsulate in one paragraph, is extending this olive branch as part of a series of steps meant to calm a public that has grown increasingly restive about the company’s many missteps.

It’s part of the company’s new initiative pushing 180 days of change.

Initially the tipping feature will only be available in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston.

The company said it was adding only those three cities to “create the best tipping experience” for passengers and riders.

The full text, along with the company’s plans for the future, follows below:

Dear Annabel,
Each month for the next 6 months, we’ll share major improvements that will make driving more flexible and less stressful, giving you earnings & support you can depend on.
Starting today: Earnings
To kick-off 180 Days of Change we’re launching the feature you’ve asked for most.
1.Tipping is Coming
Tipping is available in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston as of today. We’re starting with only 3 cities so we can create the best tipping experience for you and your riders. We’ll be adding more cities over the next few weeks, and will make tips available to all U.S. drivers, by the end of July 2017. Of course, Uber service fees are never deducted from your tips. Learn more.
2. Shorter 2 Minute Cancellation Window
You’ll receive a cancellation fee if your rider cancels after more than 2 minutes (down from 5 minutes previously).
3. No More Unpaid Wait-times
You will earn a per-minute rate if you wait for a rider, starting 2 minutes after arrival.
4. All Driver Destination Trips Count Toward Quest
Every trip you take now counts toward reaching your Quest total.
5. Quest Earnings are Available for Instant Pay
You can now immediately cash out your Quest earnings using Instant Pay.
6. Expanded Driver Destinations
You can now set two trips a day going your way and earn with every mile.
7. Driver Injury Protection Insurance
You have the option to help protect yourself, and your earnings, in the event of a covered accident. To help you take advantage of this option, you will earn a bit more per-mile. For costs, complete coverage details, and state availability via Aon, tap here.
8. Teen Fare
For teen account trips, $2 will be added to the base fare and you’ll earn more for those rides.
When are the changes coming?
We are launching these improvements city-by-city over the summer. Visit this link to see when these changes will arrive in your town. In the meantime, please update and restart your Driver App so you can experience these changes.

So, what’s next?
This is just the beginning. Over the next 180 days we are committed to making driving with Uber better than ever. Look out for the next round of improvements in July. We know there’s a long road ahead, but we won’t stop until we get there.
With our sincere thanks,
Rachel Holt
Head of US Operations
Aaron Schildkrout
Head of Driver Experience