Uber may be forced to add one of Lyft's best features

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The city's Taxi and Limousine Commission will announce a proposal that auto services that only accept credit card payments give passengers the chance to add a tip. So basically, even services that accept payments exclusively through credit cards, will be forced to add an option that will let drivers accept tips through the same channel. NY officials are trying to force the ride-sharing app to include a tipping option after a petition was signed by 11,000 drivers.

In a blog by its policy team past year, Uber said it considered building a tipping option into the app but ultimately decided against it "because we felt it would be better for riders and drivers to know for sure what they would pay or earn on each trip - without the uncertainty of tipping".

Uber does have an automatic tipping option for its Uber Taxi service in Chicago, but it's fairly hidden, and drivers in other cities and on other Uber services have up to now been more or less out of luck.

Uber said that's the reason it has partnered with IDG, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union, to make sure its policies support drivers. The taxi commission has the authority to initiate rulemaking on its own, but rules must be certified by city legal authorities.

The company then runs the risk of drivers rating riders poorly due to not tipping, but Uber might then warn and punish drivers who frequently give bad ratings to riders who don't tip.

Adding a tipping feature to Uber's app would remove one significant difference between Uber and its chief USA competitor, Lyft. If I have a few singles on me, I'll try to do it, especially if the driver does something, like help loading a bag for a ride to the airport, or is just generally pleasant.

"People do want to tip".

Uber has notably avoided adding an in-app tipping option, despite moves by its competitors. "We thank Chairman Joshi and the commission for holding Uber to the same standard as the rest of the industry on tipping and look forward to working together on further reforms to protect our city's working drivers". IDG is the only organized group of drivers that meets regularly with Uber management to advocate for drivers.

"The exploitation of ride-hail drivers must end and this is an important first step", he said in a statement. It announced in March that drivers had earned an extra $200 million in income from tipping since the feature was introduced.

The company is putting a good face on the TLC's decision, though a spokeswoman noted that it has yet to see the actual rules. After that, the commission's board will cast its vote.

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