Journey-sharing firm Uber is to permit its drivers within the UK to obtain suggestions from passengers by way of its app.
Uber stated the characteristic – first launched within the US in June – would launch within the UK on Tuesday.
The change follows criticism that Uber was making it unnecessarily troublesome for its drivers to enhance their earnings.
It was described as “a cynical PR transfer” by a union representing British Uber drivers.
Uber can be launching a sequence of modifications supposed to permit drivers to higher management their work circulation.
These embrace “paid ready time” – by which passengers can pay 20p each minute after the primary two minutes in the event that they preserve their driver ready.
Paid ready time will go stay within the UK on 22 August.
Uber stated that suggestions from drivers had prompted it to make the modifications.
“Riders who wish to reward nice service will now have the choice to tip their driver by the app after every journey,” the corporate stated.
“This implies riders needn’t carry money in the event that they wish to tip their driver.”
A spokesman confirmed to the BBC that 100% of suggestions obtained by way of the app would go to drivers, with out Uber taking a lower.
Rival service Lyft within the US has provided in-app tipping since 2012 and taxi-booking app myTaxi – out there in Germany, Austria and elsewhere – may course of suggestions.
Different new options for Uber drivers embrace:
- Two-minute cancellations – riders must pay a price in the event that they cancel after two minutes, as a substitute of 5 minutes, from being allotted a automobile
- “No thanks” button – drivers can immediately reject a visit request as a substitute of getting to attend 10-20 seconds
- Driver locations – drivers who wish to go to a selected space can be matched with passengers looking for the same route
- Journey request management – drivers can select to not obtain much less profitable UberX journey requests
“This can be a cynical PR transfer forward of Uber’s enchantment subsequent month in opposition to last year’s employment tribunal ruling in favour of drivers,” stated James Farrar, Unbiased Staff’ Union of Nice Britain (IWGB) United Non-public Rent Drivers (UPHD) chair.
“Regardless of its claims, Uber stays utterly deaf to essentially the most critical subject dealing with – excessively lengthy hours incomes on common between £5 and £6 per hour.”
A spokesman for Uber disputed the calculation on earnings, nevertheless.
“Final 12 months UK drivers made a median of £15 an hour in fares after our service price,” he stated.
The modifications have been welcomed by the Affiliation of Unbiased Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE).
“These advantages each set up and shield the liberty, management and autonomy that makes self-employment so engaging,” stated Andrew Chamberlain, deputy director of coverage.
Uber drivers have lengthy referred to as for higher tipping choices.
In April – shortly earlier than Uber provided in-app tipping within the US – the New York Metropolis Taxi and Limousine Fee announced plans to require all cab companies that take cost by way of bank card to supply a tipping choice.
A petition on the difficulty was signed by 11,000 Uber drivers.
Evaluation: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC know-how correspondent
Executives on the ride-sharing agency like to speak about Uber 2.zero – an try and rebrand the corporate after a disastrous 12 months that has seen the departure of its founder and allegations of a poisonous tradition.
Right this moment’s changes to the way in which the app works for drivers ought to be seen in mild of that try to interrupt with the previous. Drivers at first appeared proud of the earnings provided by Uber and the pliability of fixing their very own hours.
However they’ve grown more and more discontent, accusing the corporate of taking too excessive a fee and placing too many automobiles on the street.
Uber may very well be extra focussed on final 12 months’s employment tribunal ruling by which judges described as “faintly ridiculous” its declare that drivers have been a mosaic of small companies working with out central management.
With an enchantment in opposition to that ruling due subsequent month, the agency could hope that strikes to provide drivers better management will impress the tribunal.
‘Intercourse crime’ criticism
Individually, the Sunday Occasions has reported a Metropolitan Police officer has written to Uber, accusing it of failing to report intercourse assaults and different “critical crimes”.
The newspaper stated it had obtained a letter from Insp Neil Billany, head of the Met’s taxi and personal rent unit.
Insp Billany stated he had “vital concern” over Uber’s decision-making course of and accused the corporate of reporting solely much less critical circumstances to keep away from damaging its popularity.
The Sunday Occasions stated at the very least six sexual assaults on passengers, two public order offences and an assault had gone unreported.
Uber’s licence to function in London is presently being reviewed.
Transport for London, which points licences, stated the scenario was “completely unacceptable” and would have an effect on its determination on the evaluation.
In a response to the story on its blog, Uber described its view of its relationship with the Metropolitan Police.
“Whereas we have been stunned by this letter – as we do not really feel it displays the nice working relationship we’ve with the police and the in depth help we offer – we might welcome additional collaboration and to determine how we are able to do extra to strengthen our current processes,” the agency stated.