Uber is. Without a CEO or top executives, . And it looks like their first big move is an attempt to ease their drivers’ financial pain.
The biggest surprise: Uber is adding tips, starting today.
Starting in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston, then rolling out to all US drivers by the end of July 2017, the tipping feature will be part of the Uber app. That’s about as official as you can get.
And it’s just one of the many reforms Uber claims it will offer its drivers over the next 180 days. In an email sent to drivers, which opens up to a fuller website here, the company’s promising a variety of “meaningful changes & improvements to your driving experience.”
So far, the first chunk of reforms are focused on helping drivers earn more money, though the website hints that future batches of changes may fall under different themes.
In addition to tipping, today’s changes include:
Shorter 2 Minute Cancellation Window
You’ll receive a cancellation fee if your rider cancels after more than 2 minutes (down from 5 minutes previously).
No More Unpaid Wait-times
You will earn a per-minute rate if you wait for a rider, starting 2 minutes after arrival.
All Driver Destination Trips Count Toward Quest
Every trip you take now counts toward reaching your Quest total.
Quest Earnings are Available for Instant Pay
You can now immediately cash out your Quest earnings using Instant Pay.
Expanded Driver Destinations
You can now set two trips a day going your way and earn with every mile.
Driver Injury Protection Insurance
You have the option to help protect yourself, and your earnings, in the event of a covered accident. To help you take advantage of this option, you will earn a bit more per-mile. For costs, complete coverage details, and state availability via Aon, tap here.
For teen account trips, $2 will be added to the base fare and you’ll earn more for those rides.
(Uber has a pilot program for teen drivers in Seattle, Phoenix, and Columbus, Ohio.)
Uber has been under fire for the way it treats drivers in the past. A judge famouslyfor being inadequate to compensate drivers in California and Massachusetts who wound up paying a variety of costs out of their own pockets.
Uber has long resisted tips, unlike competitors such as Lyft. Following legal settlements last April, Uber communicated that it was okay for drivers to accept tips, but only informally:
Tipping is not included, nor is it expected or required. In fact riders tell us that one of the things they like most about Uber is that it’s hassle-free. And that’s how we intend to keep it.
That didn’t satisfy Uber drivers, however, many of whom.
“Today’s tipping announcement is an important win for drivers and proves that thousands of drivers coming together with one voice can make big changes,” reads part of a statement from the Independent Drivers Guild. “Cuts to driver pay across the ride-hail industry have made tipping income more important than ever.”
Why now? “Because it’s the right thing to do, it’s long overdue, and there’s no time like the present,” writes Uber.
For more on how Uber tips will work, click here.