Ann Arbor becomes trial city for Uber's new tipping feature

Saturday, July 15, 2017 - 8:14pm

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Emma Richter/Daily

 

Uber, the ride-sharing app revolutionizing the transportation industry, is giving customers the option to tip drivers. Since July 6, the latest installment of the app has been available in Ann Arbor, the first Michigan city to offer the tipping feature. Other select U.S. cities offering tipping include Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston.

Uber is using select cities as a test run before making the tipping feature available in all U.S. cities beginning Aug. 1. Uber's communications team member, Megan Capiak, found tipping to be beneficial to the app’s improvement, according to an MLive with the Ann Arbor News.

"Whenever we launch a new feature, we always start in a few cities to make sure it works well," Capiak said. "This will help us refine, improve and create the best tipping experience for drivers and rider by the time in-app tipping is available across the U.S. by the end of July."

With the sexual harassment allegations against Uber’s now-resigned CEO Travis Kalanick in recent news, Uber is attempting to rebuild and redesign their company in a positive light. The tipping feature is a part of Uber’s 180 Days of Change program.

“For the next 180 days (and beyond) we’ll be making meaningful changes to your driving experience … Each month for the next 6 months, we’ll share meaningful changes that will make driving more flexible and less stressful, giving you earnings & support you can depend on,” Uber said on their website.

Some riders are interested in trying out the new feature. Business sophomore Jeremy Cohn thinks the latest installment is promising, yet possibly a bit more complicated for users.

“I use Uber pretty much every week,” Cohn said. “I like how easy it is to use and how accessible it is in Ann Arbor. I'm not concerned about the new tipping feature but I liked it better when the app tipped automatically because there was less to think about. However, this now gives me a chance to tip a driver based on my ride experience, which is nice. I think other college students will feel similarly.”

Conversely, many riders have expressed concern over the feature. LSA junior Rachel Kahan particularly worries the effects of not tipping may impact passenger rating.

“Let’s say you take a ride that is exceptional,” Kahan said. “Maybe the driver provides candy or water, for example. That deserves a tip. But if the ride isn’t up to standard, you probably don’t want to tip the driver. The problem is that when you start not tipping drivers, your passenger rating may decline and then drivers may be more hesitant to pick you up to begin with.”

In order to accept tips, the driver needs the Uber driver app’s latest update. The driver has the option of cashing his or her tips out at any point in time, using the Instant Pay feature on the app.