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Report: You Probably Don’t Tip Your Uber Driver

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Photo: Quote Catalog

As Americans, there are situations where you definitely tip, and others that are greyer. For example, you should always tip your wait staff at a restaurant, but do you tip if you’re only picking up an order to go? After a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, we know that there’s a good chance you aren’t tipping your Uber driver.


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The study used data from Uber itself, thanks to group work by Uber’s former chief economist, John List, Stanford University’s Bharat Chandar and University of California-San Diego’s Uri Gneezy. They pulled four weeks of data from the app in 2017, when tipping first became an option after customer demand.

Users might have asked for an opportunity to give their driver a little something extra, but the researchers found that only about one percent of customers always tip. While some tip occasionally for good service or extraordinary circumstances, about 60 percent never leave tips (at least via the app and their credit card). When they averaged all of the tips, each driver only got about 50 cents a ride. However, routine tippers usually average about $3 in tips a ride.

Tipping also had some interesting trends based on gender. The report stated that female drivers were more likely than men to get tips, while men tip more on average to everyone.

On one hand, the data from the study is already old, as it came from 2017. Tipping was only launched in June of that year, so it’s possible that there was no tipping etiquette in place by then. Uber’s fights over compensation with its drivers weren’t as public then either, which might spur more people to tip.


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The researchers say that they only worked with four weeks of data, but in the world of Uber, that amounted to about 40 million trips. While Uber was originally resistant to adding a tip option to their interface, citing research that people of color earn lower tips for the same service than their white counterparts, it now reports that its drivers make about $600 million in tips throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Regardless of what Uber does with this information, this study might influence Uber rider behavior. Will you be more or less likely to give your driver a bonus at the end of a ride now?

News Source: The Verge