Uber's chief rival, Lyft, has offered the option to tip drivers in its app since it was founded in 2012.
The TLC's action on tipping rules comes after the commission held its biannual hearing on for-hire driver earnings earlier this month.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw passed a decree "permanently injuncting" the two unions and anyone associated with them from blocking Ola and Uber taxis. The company cited a 2008 Cornell University study found that "consumers of both races discriminate against black service providers by tipping them less than white service providers". But he said there are ways to make the process "as seamless as it is right now". At that point, a final rule is posted and then voted on by the TLC board of commissioners. "Ola and Uber are giving away cars with All India Taxi permits to drivers on a small down payment of R 35,000".
In a statement, Uber didn't say that it plans to oppose the rule.
The campaign by the IDG, an affiliate of the International Association of Machinists, targeted Uber because it is the biggest ride-hail service.
The change would be a significant one for Uber, which has avoided past calls to add electronic tipping.
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Brace for surge in fares and extended waiting time for the cabs to arrive as the drivers of two app-based cab aggregators - Ola and Uber - will go on a daylong strike against their "poor working conditions". Though tipping is permitted, many riders don't carry cash, or don't feel compelled to dig around in their pockets once the ride is done.
That petition received more than 11,000 signatures; the Independent Driver's Guild estimated that including a tipping button would lead to a total of $300 million addition income per year for drivers. You don't have to worry about payment, and you really don't have to worry about tipping.
"This is a reasonable thing", said Jim Conigliaro Jr., the Machinists Union lawyer who founded the IDG. And of course, people who ride in taxis can tip with their credit cards or cash. The group said the rule could mean $300 million of additional income for Uber drivers in NY each year if passengers tip at the same rate as in yellow cabs. After that, the TLC has to publish the rule, and allow comment from the public for 30 days.
He continued, "Uber is always striving to offer the best earning opportunity for drivers and we are constantly working to improve the driver experience".
A pro-tipping rule in NY would be a big victory for the Independent Drivers Guild, an organization that Uber helped set up a year ago in conjunction with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, a trade union.