Uber facing possible fine for drunk drivers

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The Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York City announced on Monday that it intends to initate a new rule, which would require that For-Hire Vehicles that accept only credit cards, such as Uber, allow passengers to tip their driver using their card. "They actually feel uncomfortable when they get out of the auto and don't tip the driver".

Uber passengers always have the option to leave a cash tip, but many choose not to because they don't have cash on them or simply because they aren't encouraged to.

Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang said the company will review the proposed rule once it's drafted. And since Uber is a cashless experience, that would mean Uber would be forced to add an in-app tipping option. The petition has more than 11,000 signatures, and the online description attached to it says, "New York's working drivers are losing thousands of dollars we need for vehicle upkeep and supporting our families in one of the most expensive cities in America".

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In January, Uber paid the Federal Trade Commission $20 million to settle claims that it misled drivers about pay.

The TLC says a gratuity option on the ridesharing app would help protect the rights of Uber drivers, who complain about declining wages. The taxi commission has the authority to initiate rulemaking on its own, but rules must be certified by city legal authorities. While digital tipping has yet to go mainstream outside of cafes and taxis, American consumers are more likely to touch-type a tip if the staff member is standing (or sitting) expectantly nearby. Uber is unique among ride-hailing companies in its total disdain for in-app tipping.

After its formal introduction, both drivers and passengers will have opportunities to offer their thoughts on the proposal before it heads toward a final vote.

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Jim Conigliaro Jr., founder of the drivers guild, told The Huffington Post that surveys indicate in-app tipping is a "top issue" for drivers. If passed, the rule would only affect companies that do not already offer the option to tip on credit, however, cash tips would still be allowed. The interface wouldn't ask you to tip immediately after a ride, but rather users would have to manually select find their last ride.

New York City taxis and Lyft already offer tipping via credit card, but Uber now does not. Lyft has a smaller market share but is the preferred service of many drivers because it allows tipping through the smartphone app. Lyft said in March that its drivers have earned more than $200 million in tips since the company's founding. "The exploitation of ride-hail drivers must end and this is an important first step".

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