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Uber would be required to provide in-app tipping under proposed law

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Following an online petition, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission will formally propose a new bill

New York Uber Drivers Protest Rate Cuts Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A new proposal is slated to be introduced by the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission that could soon require ride-sharing apps that only accept credit cards to provide passengers with the option of tipping via credit. While Lyft already allows passengers to tip from their app, Uber does not and seems to be the target of the new proposal.

According to the New York Times, officials are rallying behind the idea to require Uber to allow tips to drivers using a credit card through the app. As it stands, the only option passengers have when it comes to tipping is to offer cash, something people are carrying less of these days.

The bill was drafted after a petition from the Independent Drivers Guild, who represents New York City Uber drivers, argued that employees were losing out on thousands of dollars in potential tips due to the lack of an option to add a tip in the app. The petition has gained more than 11,000 signatures.

Uber spokeswoman Alix Anfang told the Times that the company is “always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers” and will be reviewing the proposal.

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. 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.

As with any new legislation, there are its critics. Paul Reynolds, head of consumer research at ValuePenguin.com sees more negatives than positives to the proposal, citing that it would complicate Uber’s “one-and-done nature” by adding tipping into the mix. Reynolds also believes that the proposal could cause confusion with how drivers rate passengers, basing it more off of the generosity of the rider rather than the overall experience.