Uber has introduced the in-app tips feature here. It is not visible on the app but can be seen by logging on to your Uber account from its website.
Ram, an Uber driver in Delhi in his mid-30s, has deployed his car with a private company, but sometime he ferries Uber passengers.
He learnt driving just two years ago, when Uber and Ola started giving huge incentives to drivers and income in some months were as high as Rs 1 lakh. That’s more than the median salary of engineers from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).
But that’s not the case anymore. Driver incomes have dropped too, often, less than Rs 30,000 a month. Drivers like Ram are considering getting off Uber and finding jobs elsewhere or deploying their cars with some steady hirers like companies that take cars and drivers on monthly leases.
This trend of falling monthly wages is true for Uber drivers the world over and has led to a global demand for in-app tipping (Uber calls it gratuity) for the driver, using a credit or debit card. The feature is only available for UberTAXI, which allows users to hail a licensed taxi (like the black cabs in London) in different cities at the tap of a button.
UberTAXI is not available in India. But, what’s surprising is that Uber has introduced the in-app tips feature here. It is not visible on the app but can be seen by logging on to your Uber account from its website.
Under the ‘Payments’ section, the ‘Gratuity’ comes with a default setting of 20% — meaning you would pay one-fifth of your fare as a tip. Tips are normal in taxi services in several cities in the West. The Uber gratuity can be reduced to zero or increased to 30% of the total fare, which means a commuter might end up paying more for the same ride, if Uber were to activate the tips feature on its other services like UberGO, UberX, Uber XL, Airport, or UberHIRE in India.
Also read: Did Uber just run its first test to boost revenue in India?
“This was introduced roughly six months ago. India does not have a tipping culture like the US,” said a source close to the company.
“This was introduced roughly six months ago. India does not have a tipping culture like the US” — a source close to the company
To be sure, there are no indications that Uber India will introduce the tipping feature to its services here, but India has the second-largest customer base for Uber worldwide and it needs operations to become profitable here
The biggest question is why would Uber show a tipping option in an Indian user’s account. “I looked at the screenshot… and it seems this is tipping (called gratuity) which we don’t have in India,” an Uber spokesperson said