Should You Tip Lyft, Uber and Taxi Drivers?

tipping uber and lyft driver

Should you tip Uber or Lyft? You don’t have to, but you should. Most of the time.

Some travelers disagree, arguing that the whole point of ridesharing services is to streamline and simplify transportation. But we live in a service-based economy, and gratuities are how we express appreciation for good service.

Why should you tip Uber and Lyft drivers?

  1. They’re probably making less money than you think. Uber got in big trouble for claiming drivers’ median salary was $90,766 in New York City and $74,000 in San Francisco. That just wasn’t true, an FTC investigation found out. The real median salaries: $62,000 and $53,000. That may sound like a lot but think of the other factors in play: drivers’ long hours, self-employment taxes, plus the cost of gas, car maintenance, and ridesharing car insurance. So how much do Uber/Lyft drivers typically make? Data from RideSherpa suggests the answer is around $16 for Uber or $11.50 for Lyft. They’re not getting rich. So give them a tip!
  2. Tip money goes directly to the drivers. Uber and Lyft drivers’ hourly rates vary according to the time of day, how many rides they pick up, bonuses, etc., but the companies always take a cut. Lyft charges a 20-25 percent commission of fares. Uber’s commission structure varies but tends to be about the same. Any money that drivers receive as tips, however, goes to the driver without a commission cut. Lyft lets you tip drivers via its app, either on the spot or up to 72 hours after your ride. Uber only allows cash tips.
  3. Some drivers really go above and beyond. The best-rated Uber and Lyft drivers aren’t the ones driving the newest cars, or the ones who know a secret shortcut to LAX. They’re the drivers who are friendly and fun, who put on music you like, and who offer you water. The very best Uber and Lyft drivers also carry phone chargers, cough drops, and other perks that show they’re anticipating passengers’ needs.
  4. You’ll get higher passenger ratings.
    This last reason to tip your Lyft or Uber driver is a little self-serving: You can get higher passenger ratings. Drivers rate passengers on a five-star system, just as drivers are rated by passengers. If you’re belligerent or rude, and you don’t tip, you could end up with a dinged rating and no rides. To see your passenger rating, you can go into the account settings menu in the Uber app. For your Lyft passenger rating, you’ll have to contact the company’s corporate office — or just ask your next driver.

How much should you tip Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers?

Everyone’s approach is different, but here’s our guide to Uber tipping — which also applies to other ridesharing services and taxis.

  • 20%+ for outstanding service: For example, your driver gets you to the airport on time when you’re running late; loads and unloads heavy bags for you; serves as an impromptu tour guide by recommending places to go in a new city; offers you a charger when you realize your phone is dead.
  • 15%-20% for good service: Your Lyft or Uber driver is courteous, and the car’s clean. You get to your destination with no hiccups.
  • 10%-15% for adequate service: Maybe your driver’s having an off day — he or she isn’t particularly cheerful, or takes a few wrong turns — but you still get to where you’re going in a reasonable amount of time.
  • 0%: If your driver gets lost, drives dangerously or behaves inappropriately, you definitely don’t have to tip them. Not only that but if you have serious concerns, you should report them via the app.

Need help deciding which service is best for you? We’ve got a guide on how to pick between Uber vs. Lyft vs. Taxi.

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