Uber moves to mend fences with drivers, allowing in-app tipping

Uber is making a long sought-after change to its mobile app, allowing customers to tip within the Uber app when they reach their destinations.

The move is part of Uber’s “180 Days of Change,” a program designed to recast the company’s image as less evil in the wake of a series of scandals that led to the CEO’s ouster.

The in-app tipping capability is now available in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston.

Uber will add cities over the next few weeks, and will make the option available to all U.S. drivers and riders by the end of July.

Drivers have been clamoring for the change. Many riders have been unaware that a tip is not included in the Uber fare.

If they were aware, their only option was to tip in cash, an inconvenience for customers used to adding a tip to a taxi ride’s credit card total.

Uber said no service fees will be applied to tips. Drivers will be able to “cash out” their tips at any time with Instant Pay.

Other changes are afoot for the drivers, whose relationship with the newly departed CEO, Travis Kalanick, was notoriously abysmal.

“For the next 180 days (and beyond), we’ll be making meaningful changes to the driving experience. Some changes will be big, some will be small ー all will be changes drivers have asked for. Why now? Because it’s the right thing to do, it’s long overdue, and there’s no time like the present. This is just the beginning. We know there’s a long road ahead, but we won’t stop until we get there.”

The company added that the changes “will make driving more flexible and less stressful, giving you earnings and support you can depend on.”

There are other lessons to be learned from Uber’s months of turmoil, which included allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and a culture of meanness.

The entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley need to remember who is footing the bill and (when they want to) calling the shots: the investors. It was two investors who, weary of the sordid circus, paid a visit to Kalanick and demanded his resignation.

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