If you’ve ever felt unsure about how much to tip your driver on apps like Uber or Lyft, you’re not alone. There’s a lot of confusion around tipping etiquette on app-based rides. And only about 35 percent of riders report always tipping their driver. A lot of our tipping behavior on app-based rides can be traced back to Uber’s beginnings.
Even though Uber wasn’t the first ride-hailing app, it grew the most quickly and became synonymous with ride-hailing itself. As the dominant app in the market, Uber established a lot of what’s right and wrong around how we use ride-hailing services — including the forgoing of tips.
At first, the lack of tips didn’t have a huge effect on an Uber driver’s pay. When the app first entered the market in San Francisco in 2009, its fares were set higher than local cabs. But as Uber expanded its services and faced competitors, pay for app-based drivers has been dropping. And the no-tip culture set by Uber has become more of a source of contention for drivers in the industry.
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