Uber Joins Lyft, Adds Tipping Option to App

Uber drivers can now reap the harvest of passenger kindness. 

Uber

It's like a whole different company. On Tuesday, Uber announced it has begun allowing users in a handful of U.S. cities to tip their drivers from directly within the app, with plans to roll it out across the rest of the country by the end of July. 

The new feature, which will be available to both riders and users of the UberEATS service that has become the go-to way to burn even fewer calories while ordering a Big Mac, is rolling out in Houston, Seattle, and Minneapolis as of today, according to a post on Uber's website. Tips will never be subject to service fees, according to the company, and the money will be available immediately. 

On the customer side, when a user finishes a trip, he or she will be given a chance to tip after rating the driver. Users will be able to select from either one of several pre-determined whole dollar amounts ($1, $2, $5, etc.) or to enter a custom amount; all tips will show up on receipts and be noted as separate from the fare in a user's trip history. And should you forget to give your drive a couple extra bucks for successfully dodging that raccoon right away, fear not: Customers will be able to add a tip for up to 30 days after the ride.

Previously, Uber had said it was against in-app tipping, with a spokesperson telling Bloomberg earlier this year customers were free to tip in cash if they wished. 

The company announced the move was the first part of what it describes as "180 Days of Change," a series of measure Uber intends to implement over the next six months to improve the service for drivers. Other planned changes the company announced include an end to unpaid wait times and an increase in pay for transporting teenagers. (Which, let's face it, is probably well-earned in most cases.)

It's a welcome positive turn in the narrative for Uber, which has struggled under the weight of scandal after scandal in recent months—all of which culminated in firebrand CEO Travis Kalanick taking a leave of absence and the adoption of the recommendations from a company-wide review conducted by former attorney general Eric Holder

And of course, it's also a chance for Uber to catch up to arch-nemesis Lyft, which has offered the feature since the beginning