Uber drivers lay out 4 reasons they think tipping has been getting worse — and why events like Taylor Swift concerts seem to make riders more generous

 Ben, a full-time driver for Uber and Uber Eats, has noticed a decline in tipping over the years, making it increasingly difficult for him to make ends meet. In 2021, Ben earned roughly $77,000 before taxes, driving for the two companies. His average hourly rate was just under $19, and customers tipped him roughly $4 per ride. However, there were days when he received no tips at all and others where he received a tip for every trip. 

Although Uber claims tipping has increased since 2020, drivers like Ben believe they are earning less than they used to. One of the reasons customers may be tipping less is that some have a limited budget for tips. According to Ben, many of his customers are business travelers who have a set tip amount, often as low as 10%. Moreover, growth in social media videos showing people receiving lavish tips may have led some customers to think they don't need to tip as much. Another driver, Sergio Avedian, believes the rise in the price of Uber and Lyft rides is also contributing to lower tips, as people don't feel they have enough spare funds to tip.

According to Avedian, riders' current reluctance to tip Uber drivers can be attributed to decisions made by the company in the past. Despite drivers advocating for it, in-app tipping was not available on the platform until 2017. Former CEO Travis Kalanick was hesitant to introduce tipping, as he believed it would make the user experience more complicated and potentially guilt-trip riders who did not tip. 

Uber's public-policy team also explained in 2016 that they decided against adding a tipping feature to reduce ambiguity in trip payments. Avedian noted that the delay in adding a tipping option may have contributed to a lack of tipping culture among riders. He argued that passengers have become used to not tipping in rideshare services, despite it being a common practice for taxi rides. Consequently, Avedian expressed his belief that rideshare drivers are being shortchanged in this aspect.

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