In New York City, Tipping Your Uber Driver May Become Mandatory

They are fighting for the rights of Uber drivers in one of the world's busiest cities

(Image: iStock/GoodLifeStudio)

An organization representing independent taxi drivers sent a petition to the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) to force Uber to offer passengers the option to tip their drivers.

“Tips are drivers’ bread and butter, and traditionally account for as much as a quarter of their earnings. Uber’s refusal to give passengers a tipping option has effectively slashed driver pay, making it all the more difficult for drivers to support their families in one of the most expensive cities in America,” said Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the Independent Drivers Guild, in a press release.

“Uber has a reputation for skirting rules and industry standards, but depriving drivers of the opportunity to earn tips is bad business. The fact that they are denying drivers the ability to earn tips at the same time as the company has cut pay and nearly tripled their take of driver pay is beyond the pale. It’s time to hold Uber to the same standard as taxis and the rest of the service industry and require a tipping option.”

Nearly 50,000 Uber drivers are represented by the Independent Drivers Guild. The TLC has 60 days to respond to the request.

Uber is notoriously stubborn about its refusal to allow a tipping option in its app. That lack of a tipping feature has led to “passenger confusion and resulted in drastic reductions in tipping income, which has long made up a substantial portion of driver earnings,” according to the Guild.

The organization, which was launched last May, has taken credit for several victories including pressuring Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to step down from President’s Trump economic advisory council after Trump’s Executive Order banning Muslims from seven countries from immigrating to the U.S.

The Guild also negotiated discounts for drivers on insurance and other expenses drivers face, such as legal assistance fighting unfair tickets, mobile phone plans, and tax preparation services.


  • 1johnparker

    The headline is misleading. The story says nothing about “mandatory” tipping.

  • Spencer Reynolds

    I am still waiting to hear some good news about Uber. Nothing. Just Uber stealing from it’s drivers and it’s drivers raping customers.

  • Jake

    Uber’s ponzi scheme will implode very soon. Drivers are screwed as soon as they sign up. From the low wages they make now, to the wear and tear of their debt-mobiles aka leased cars. Once Uber has enough Self Driving Cars (SDV) on the road, all those who drive for them will be unemployed. There’s a video out that explains the truth behind driving for TNC’s quite nicely. Google “Uber : After Expenses (Silent Film)”

  • Max Ghenis

    This would probably mean lower earnings for black drivers: a 2003 study found that black taxi drivers were tipped 1/3 less than white drivers (, which aligns with other studies from restaurants. And any expectation to tip would reduce organic/base fares, due to how their surge pricing works (it would reduce demand and increase supply, lowering surge). Net effect: black drivers earn less than they did without tipping, and white drivers earn more than before. Uber’s tip-free system is simply more equitable; they should stay strong and keep in-app tipping out.