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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Don’t be a rude passenger

Why tipping your Uber driver is necessary

Last summer, Uber rolled out a tipping feature in its app, allowing passengers to tip their drivers after their ride is over. In the past, Uber had strongly suggested that passengers don’t need to tip. This change in policy has led to a debate: Should you tip your Uber driver?

If your answer is no because you “can’t afford to tip,” consider taking SEPTA. A SEPTA ride from Saint Joseph’s University to City Hall can cost you as little as $2.50 and as much as $8, making a round trip somewhere around $5-$16.

An Uber back from City Hall can cost around $15, and that’s before surge pricing. Surge pricing can see that rate rise up to 2.5 times the original price. If you are giving up that much to go one way, surely you can spare a tip. What’s a few dollars more, especially when Uber can get you home in 20 minutes, and SEPTA may make you wait for over an hour just to even get on a train?

You may think that Uber drivers get paid more than taxi drivers, but what actually ends up happening is that Uber takes roughly 25 percent commission off the top, and then the drivers are also responsible for their own gas and car maintenance. Uber drivers also do not receive employer-sponsored benefits. Even beyond this, a calculation of how much an Uber driver actually makes fails to account for the depreciation that comes with driving so often. After these expenses were factored in, Uber figures showed that drivers in Detroit, Houston and Denver only made $8.77, $10.75 and $13.17 per hour, respectively.

Those numbers also assume that drivers drive as much as they want. If someone throws up in the back seat, Uber does cover cleaning fees, but not lost trips. Uber does not cover when drivers travel around without a passenger, or when they drive over state lines and then have to make it back to their service state to accept another fare. They do not let drivers drive in a state that they are not registered in, nor do they show the driver the route before the passenger is in the car. All of this may lead to surprise expenses for drivers, which leads them to make less money.

Another reason to tip is that your Uber driver has to deal with people all day. If you are not tipping your waiter or your hairdresser, shame on you. An Uber driver is also a customer service worker who must deal with obnoxious customers as a part of their job. But if you’ve stepped into an Uber after a late night of drinks, consider a few dollars as a courtesy—a “thank you for putting up with me,” if you will.

If you think that tipping is just going to make Uber operate like restaurants, consider what that means. If it’s going to keep Uber as the luxury it is, then it’s worth it. Nowadays when I step into an Uber, I’m usually offered some combination of candy, water, an opportunity to charge my phone and a friendly conversation, all in addition to the ride itself. After all, it is indeed a luxury that you can just have a clean car drive you around the city at the tap of a finger. While it is true that all-star service was offered before tipping, a tip serves as an encouragement for the driver to offer great service to their next passenger.

The last thing holding you back from tipping may be the quality. Admittedly, anyone who has used Uber  fairly often has a bad story about their experience; one about a driver who didn’t know what they were doing or one that was just flat out rude. Should we have the same social pressure as we do with waiters, where we tip regardless of quality of service?

Until it becomes a norm, this is the only area where you can think about holding back.

If you think the service is poor, the star rating is where you have the potential to really voice your opinion effectively.

A collection of one-star ratings has the ability to wipe a driver off the road completely. If an account falls below Uber’s minimum star rating, they aren’t allowed to drive anymore.With that average minimum around 4.6 in major cities, a one-star rating can really put an end to the bad service you might be afraid of.

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