How Much Should You Tip Uber Drivers?

Just because the app offers you the option to tip does not mean you are required to tip Uber drivers. However, I think it’s a good practice to do so. 

I tend to be one of those people who give generous tips to people in service positions. After all, my first jobs were in restaurants, where I learned that I could barely support myself without tips. Of course, we should also encourage fair wages so people don’t have to live off of tips, but that’s another issue entirely.

More than anything, I believe it’s just a nice thing to do. Yes, living frugally is important, and you shouldn’t exceed your own budget just to give tips. Nevertheless, it’s within my personal value system to give tips to those who provide me with a service. 

So, I do tip Uber drivers. However, determining how much to tip an uber driver isn’t as simple.

The Short Answer: Tip Uber Drivers $1-$2

Many different factors go into how much you should tip anyone, including Uber drivers. However, if you are looking for a short answer, it’s this: tip $1 – $2 for short rides.

When to Tip Uber Drivers More

However, consider the following factors, because when these occur, you might want to tip Uber Drivers more than just $1 – $2 per ride:

  • Longer rides. Traffic, construction, and the need to go a further distance than usual are reasons people take longer rides.
  • Your city’s norms. I live in San Francisco, a geographically small city where rides are typically short. Nevertheless, I tend to tip more than the $2 “short ride” average. That’s because this is a pricey city where the cost of living is high and, therefore, tips (on everything from food to Uber rides) are typically higher than they might be in other cities.
  • Outstanding service. If you are the type of person who tips your waiter more if they provide great service, then you should do the same with your Uber driver. I don’t condone “punishing” service people by withholding tips for less-than-stellar service. However, I do believe in rewarding the ones that do the best with a higher tip.

Percentage-Based Tips

One way to make sure you’re tipping enough, particularly on a longer ride, is to use a percentage of the ride cost. Most people tip between 10% and 30% of the total ride cost. Therefore, you’ll be in the middle if you tip Uber drivers 20% of the ride cost.

This percentage-based amount varies depending on location (see city normas above). A good rule of thumb is to use the same tip percentage you would use for a traditional cab service.

Does Ride Type Affect Uber Tips?

There are many different ride options when you use an Uber. For example, you can get a luxury car ride, a ride for extra passengers in a van, or share a ride with a stranger. Since there is no requirement to tip Uber drivers at all, there’s certainly no requirement to tip differently depending on ride type. Nevertheless, I tend to take that into consideration. 

I tip a little bit more for the SUV/van or the luxury cars. After all, there aren’t as many of these on the road (at least in my area). Therefore the drivers are often a more unique service. I think it’s valuable to tip for that extra service.

On shared rides, I typically follow the $1-$2 rule. In San Francisco, shared rides are really affordable. In fact, often $1 is more than the 20% tip rate for a ride. I personally wouldn’t tip someone less than $1 in any situation, so that remains my minimum. If going by percentages, I tip based on my personal price for the shared cost of the ride.

Uber offers a few special services. For example, Uber Assist is door-to-door service (instead of curb-to-curb) for elderly folks and people with wheelchairs/disabilities. The drivers are specially trained to help these customers. Since the driver is providing that added service, and each ride takes them a little bit more time, it’s nice to tip on the higher end for these rides if you can. That said, no one should have to pay more for a service because of a disability, so if you’re on a tight budget and need this service, just offer the best tip that you can.

Use the App to Tip Uber Drivers

Originally, Uber didn’t allow you to tip through the app. Therefore, people who did want to tip would pay cash to their driver. However, that’s changed now, and we recommend you use the option to tip through the app.

Uber caps your tip at 200%. Therefore, even if you want to be extra generous to your driver in an “acts of kindness” kind of way, you can’t go overboard. More importantly, you can’t accidentally add an extreme tip, so you can feel safe using the app in that way.

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