Lyft currently offers their customers the ability to leave a tip for their drivers if they are so inclined in the application. Uber does not offer that functionality yet. Until recently Uber had basically sent a message to riders saying that their rides were all inclusive and that there was no need to tip. However, after a settlement with riders, Uber will now be telling riders that no tip is included. Uber will also be allowing riders to post that the gratuity is not included in the cost of the fare.
But that doesn’t really answer the question of what a rider should do or not. Of coarse as a driver I would love it if each and every customer of mine gave me a tip. But it is not my job to make your decision to tip for you. That is a decision you have to make. However, I would offer some things to consider when making that decision.
A) If they are both operating in a city, Uber and Lyft are often competing for both riders and drivers. Many drivers will drive for both companies. Many riders will have both applications as well. The rates they charge for riders in those cities will be competitive in order to attract business. This means that the prices will go lower to the determent of drivers. If you feel that the value of the ride you received was worth more than the base fare that you were charged, perhaps it is worth it to add some tip money to the overall cost of the ride.
B) Tipping tells drivers that they are doing their job well. It is positive reinforcement of good behavior. Many times drivers will go above and beyond to make your experience as comfortable as possible. Did your driver offer you a complementary beverage or candy? Did your driver provide cell phone charging cables or give you control of the radio? If your driver spent extra time, effort, and money to make your ride special, it could very well be worth a tip.
C) How far did your driver have to travel to pick you up? Many times your driver will be right around the corner. Sometimes your driver may have to drive 20 minutes to reach your location. Some drivers may just reject calls from such a long distance because your fare does not include the trip to pick you up. If a driver accepts your ride request and that request takes him a good distance away from where he was, that might be something worthy of consideration for a tip.
D) How far did you ask your driver to take you? Regulations vary but drivers can reject trips of certain lengths as well. If a driver accepts a trip that could have declined because of distance, it might also be something worthy of consideration for a tip.
I likely will not have covered every possible scenario that might cause a person to leave a tip to a ride sharing driver. But I can tell you that every time you give a tip to your driver, even if it is just a couple of bucks, it will make that driver very happy and you will be telling that driver that you received awesome service .
So how can you leave a tip? Isn’t one of the benefits of ridesharing that you can be cashless? Well, Lyft makes it easy by including it in their application. However, since Uber does not provide a cashless tipping mechanism, I provide my riders with a paypal link so that they can tip me that way. Just see my tip jar on the front page.