Uber adds tipping and reduces cancellation time to two minutes in UK

Uber is adding a tipping button to its ride-hailing app as part of a host of updates designed to improve its troubled relationship with drivers, which will increase costs for consumers . 

The company announced a number of changes aimed at appeasing its drivers, including paid waiting time and in-app tipping. 

Uber has struggled to maintain a strong relationship with its UK drivers who have complained about job security and, in some cases, poor pay . In an effort to regain support the company will also reduce the free cancellation time from five minutes to two, and give them a “no thanks” button for refusing trips. 

Passengers will now be required to pay a 20p fee for every minute they keep a driver waiting after an initial two-minute grace period.  

Under the new measures, drivers will also be able to input a destination direction for their final trip of the day and more control over selecting journeys. 

“Over the last 12 months we’ve hosted hundreds of events and spoken to thousands of drivers on the phone, in the office and at roundtable discussions,” said Jo Bertram, Uber’s regional general manager for the UK. “While drivers have told us they love the freedom of being their own boss, we’ve also clearly heard that we need to make improvements.”

Uber has faced growing discontent, culminating in an employment tribunal ruling that its drivers are entitled to basic employment rights, including holiday pay and the national minimum wage. Uber is appealing the decision . 

The ride-hailing giant launched a host of updates designed to improve its drivers’ experience back in February, including a £2 insurance scheme that entitles them to sick pay and injury cover. 

It recently changed its rating system  that asks riders to provide a reason if they give a trip a low score. If a rating is affected by factors out of the driver’s control, the overall ranking won’t change. 

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain said the changes don’t go far enough and 

“Despite its claims, Uber remains completely deaf to the most serious issues facing drivers: excessively long hours earning on average between £5 and £6 per hour,” said James Farrar, from the IWGB. “If Uber was more concerned about driver welfare than it is with propping up it’s own dreadful reputation, it would have abided by the tribunal’s decision and guaranteed drivers a minimum wage and holiday pay.”

Uber will reduce the cancellation time to two minutes and add a tipping button to the app on August 22. 


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