Uber Loses Share to Lyft. Both Crush Rental Cars and Taxis

War in business ground transportation. But tipping is not popular.

Rideshare companies have forced a revolution on ground transportation for business travelers that has crushed taxis and rental cars. At first it was just Uber. But then Lyft came along and ate into Uber’s share. And then Uber ran into a series of self-inflicted fiascos, ranging from the predictable to the previously unimaginable and included a very messy change in leadership. The ceaseless revelations that made people across the world groan didn’t exactly endear Uber to its customers. So where are we now?

Back in Q1 2014, taxis and rental cars combined still provided 92% of total reimbursed ground transportation for business travel in the US. By Q1 2018, this plunged to just 29%:

  • The share of taxis plunged to just 6% in Q1 2018, from 37% in Q1 2014.
  • The share of rental cars plunged to 23% of the total, from 55% in Q1 2014.

But rideshare companies Uber and Lyft combined, which eked out a market share of just 8% in Q1 2014, have taken 71% of the total by Q1 2018 – from non-entity in the sector to total domination in four years.

This data was gathered by Certify, which provides cloud-based travel and entertainment expense management software, and releases its SpendSmart reports on a quarterly basis.

But within the rideshare universe, a special battle has been fought between Uber and Lyft in terms of ground transportation reimbursement. Uber’s share was 98.8% in 2014, when Lyft just nibbled away a few crumbs, amounting to 1.2%. By Q1 2018, Uber’s share dropped to 80.9%, and Lyft’s share surged to 19.1%.

To what extent Uber’s self-inflicted fiascos have taken a bite out of its market share, and to what extent Lyft has benefited, can be seen in the chart below by Uber’s steepening downward slope throughout 2017, and by Lyft’s steepening upward slope. However, this year, the decline of Uber’s market share has slowed, though it continues:

“Lyft’s jump is the biggest surprise of Q1,” says Certify CEO Robert Neveu. “As Uber experienced change in its senior leadership team and challenges in various markets, Lyft stayed the course and gained market. It will be very interesting to see if Lyft is able to maintain this level of usage in the business travel space.”

And in which major metro areas is ridesharing for business travel most popular? Certify:

San Francisco was the most popular U.S. ride-hailing city for business travelers, taking 99% of the market compared to 1% for taxis (rental cars were not included in this part of the analysis) in Q1 2018. That’s a slight improvement from Q1 2017 when ride-hailing took 96% of the San Francisco market.

Dallas was the second most popular market nationally, with 91% of business traveler ground transportation receipts and expenses going to ride-hailing services.

Los Angeles and Boston tied for third, with 89% of transactions. Chicago and New York continue to have the highest rate of taxi use compared to ride-hailing, but even in those markets, ride-hailing accounted for nearly 75% of all business traveler ground transportation receipts and expenses in Q1 2018.

But tipping is not popular with business travelers, especially not those using Lyft.

In Q1 2018, only 6% of business travelers using Uber tipped their drivers, while 2% of Lyft users tipped. On average, business travelers are tipping about $.15 less per ride with Lyft than Uber, according to Certify’s data, and spending nearly $5 less on Lyft trips versus Uber trips.

There are two dynamics playing out here:

One is the market-share battle between Uber and Lyft. Both are losing huge amounts of money and need constant new funding from investors. In turn, Uber and Lyft then burn this cash as fast as humanly possible. Billions of dollars vanish in no time.

The second dynamic is the result of Uber’s and Lyft’s ability to burn cash without constraints. They price their rides to where they’re guaranteed huge losses. But rental car companies and taxi companies have a hard time competing with these investor-subsidized prices because they cannot afford those kinds of losses if they want to stay in business. And their investors demand profits.

Is this sort of financial attack from mega-investors with global resources unfair competition? Unfair or not, it’s now an almost universal strategy when a new company, funded by unlimited amounts of investor money, sets out to “disrupt” an existing industry where other companies have to make a profit to stay alive.

When is this investor enthusiasm for dousing companies in cash going to pop? Read…  Peak-Bubble for Junk Bonds, Says WeWork Bond Sale

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  94 comments for “Uber Loses Share to Lyft. Both Crush Rental Cars and Taxis

  1. Suzie Alcatrez says:

    I’m surprised so few people tip.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      I’m not. I hate tipping for something that the company should pay for (with salary or wages).

      Japan works perfectly well without tipping. Best restaurant service ever.

      • Nicko2 says:

        I can afford to tip. I tip generously. Tip all service workers generously, they’ll remember you for next time. It’s also god karma.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          When I was in Egypt, that’s exactly what people told me. Baksheesh everywhere, pay it to everyone everywhere, they said. Pay a lot of it, they’ll remember you the next time, and it’s good for your … (they didn’t say “Karma” … I can’t remember what the word was, maybe “soul.”). It was like a fixed expression. Which makes me wonder — are you currently in Egypt?

      • Michael Fiorillo says:

        Yes, employers should be paying a living wage to these service workers, but they don’t. Meanwhile, folks gotta live, which makes tipping a moral obligation.

        In Japan and Europe, waiting tables and the like are careers, which pay a living wage, unlike here. By insisting on what employers (and by implication, the government) should but refuse to do, not tipping condemns those workers to an even more insecure livelihood.

        • Frederick says:

          When I was a teenager working as a yard man in a local lumber yard I would go that extra yard for my regulars who tipped me well Whatever they needed regardless of how much was involved I got them the materials they wanted It was in the late 60s and I could easily make 50 dollars in tips on a good day My base pay was 3 dollars an hour and regular gasoline was 26.9 cents per gallon

        • No Handouts says:

          Nope. Tipping, especially over tipping encourages the status quo. If you really care about the morality of it, you’d be a part of the solution instead of being taken by the system. The solution is market based.

        • Michael Fiorillo says:

          The solution is market-based?

          Yeah, and Santa Claus will deliver it if we’re good.

          Being part of the solution means changing the politics and political dynamics of the country; as long as Capital grabs an ever-increasing share of the national income over Labor, these will be poverty-wage jobs, with the workers dependent on the whims of customers. Having worked for tips in years past, I can tell you that often doesn’t work out too well.

        • LessonIsNeverTry says:

          No Handouts…. I’m a little confused by your comment. You imply that “over tipping” is not part of a market based “solution”. Since tipping is not compulsory it seems, to me at least, the very epitome of a market.

        • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

          Michael Fiorello – Jobs like that pay a living wage in Japan? That must be like Hawaii was up into the 80s anyway. Even on minimum wage, $3.15 an hour, you could rent a room to live in. If you worked, you were housed, period.

          But then the mainland US may have been that way too. I didn’t leave Hawaii until 1986, so I didn’t get a look at the first half of the 80s here.

      • Geezer says:

        Its obviously key to understand how the country you are in works. In places, I presume Japan, and also Europe, the wait staff is paid a decent salary and thus don’t have to rely on tips. And yes, you seem to get people who work there long term and seem happier about their jobs so in turn they naturally give better service.

        In the US, the employers get away with paying the wait staff far less than minimum wage, and its assumed that they manage to survive on tips. This basically allows the employers to have a hidden charge to their customers. The menu price doesn’t cover what it really costs to have someone bring it to your table, and the customer is expected to add a ‘tip’ on top of what seemed like an affordable price when they looked at the menu.

        I worked in resteraunts while I went through college, so I always tipped well later in my life. Actually, I still do even though now I’ve gotten old and can’t really afford to anymore. If you ever saw the actual paychecks of the Americans bringing you your food, then you would too.

      • HBGuy says:


  2. Ray Cornwall says:

    I took an Uber the other day, and used Apple Pay. With that payment method, tipping is impossible. I wasn’t happy with that- my driver was excellent, and I wanted to tip him. I didn’t have any cash on me, so I was unable to tip. Some of the tipping issues might be attributable to UX gaps.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Why would you even tip? It’s a driver’s JOB to be excellent.

      • wkevinw says:

        In the US part of the compensation model is tipping. You can have a discussion on whether this is “efficient” or not, but that’s why people tip. I know when doing business in Germany it’s not expected, BUT, people in those same jobs make a much higher base salary in Germany than the US.

        When I am traveling or in a foreign country I always try to tip something (to the lower paid service workers) , for the reputation of my country. It’s easy to be labeled an ugly American, and I try to avoid that.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          In the US, there’s a movement underway to do away with tipping in restaurants. And for good reasons. Tipping causes a lot of problems, including that the kitchen doesn’t get the tips though they’re largely responsible for the food.

          We don’t tip engineers, we don’t tip teachers, we don’t tip garbage collectors, we don’t tip travel agents, we don’t tip government employees (that’s illegal), we don’t tip cashiers (for giving us correct change?).

          Why tip a few professions (waiters, some drivers but not commuter bus drivers, etc.) and not tip most other professions?

          In Uber’s case, the answer is simple.

          Uber did fine without tipping, for years, for its entire existence until it cut its pay for the drivers too much, and the drivers started to complain, and there was too much driver churn. Uber’s fix was to allow tipping, rather than raising their pay, thus transferring the costs of the driver directly to the passenger without having to raise rates. It has nothing to do with how “we” tip in the US and that tipping is part of the “model.” Tipping is NOT part of the US model except in a few professions.

          Uber cut the driver’s pay and then allowed tipping to mollify them and to not have to raise rates. That’s all there’s too it. Uber tried to pull a bag over our heads with this policy.

        • Rates says:

          Rubbish. That’s not the origin of tipping at all. People used to tip because the bellboy, etc had done something beyond the call of duty. Just doing their job does not merit tipping.

          Tipping in the US has gone stupid. Food trucks expect 15% tips for accepting orders. I always gave these people zero.

          The current tipping culture in the US reflects the entitlement of its population. People want to get paid extra for just doing the bare minimum.

        • Michael Fiorillo says:


          One the contrary, the entitlement is on the part of employer class, which believes it has a God-given right to profit, at the expense of their workers and society at large.

          They also buy elected officials to insure that remains the case.

      • Po Rich says:

        Maybe you tip because you might feel that the person should be making a little more money than they are. Not everybody has found the path of “advantage” , the work can be hard and straining, and don’t tell me making money with money (financial investments) really produces anything except for the “players”. That’s why you tip, some people work for a living and it is not always so easy to make ends dream of meeting on that. Yes, as Gerald Celente calls the U.S….Slavelandia!!!

      • Prairies says:

        I guess that donate button on this website is a decoration then. Good to know.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          So you haven’t donated yet, after all this time :-)

        • Paulo says:

          I had a backhoe and gravel truck owner over the other day to do some work. He knows that I am building a house for an old retired faller so he always tries to give his best and do his best for us. He positioned his machine the 8 miles, did 2 hours work with his 580 including hauling some sofa-sized rocks over to our river bank, and then hauled in 3 loads of gravel so clean I don’t have to buy a load of navy jack from town for concrete mix….thus saved me $500. His bill was $460. I gave him $500 cash with the words, “You are always doing your best for us, don’t ever think we don’t appreciate it because we do”. He left happy and I am still feeling satisfied. Oh yeah, that was on a Saturday because he was too busy Friday when I called Thursday evening to book him.

          When I call him for work he always accomodates my schedule and needs. In addition to the tip I make fresh coffee before he leaves and feed him my wife’s zuchinni cake. It’s one of those no brainer win win wins for all of us.

        • Prairies says:

          Exactly Paulo, the tip isn’t something that is automatically given. It has been earned in your experience.

      • Mark says:

        Absolutely correct.

      • cn13 says:

        You are one tight dude. I actually can’t believe how cheap you are.

        You have obviously never waited tables or worked in the service industry.

        And I bet you are one of those customers who orders the waiters around like you own them.

        All it takes is a dollar or so. Pathetic.

        • Wolf Richter says:

          You’re being silly and you know it. I said how I feel about it, not what I do. Here’s what I do:

          I’m a good tipper in restaurants because it’s a custom here. I don’t like it, and I think the arrangement is counterproductive. Restaurants should pay their staff properly and roll the cost into the price of the meal. This works super-well in places where this is practiced. Tipping in good restaurants causes waitstaff to be the recipients of much of the money that the kitchen earned. In some places, tips are shared. But the tipper has no control. If the food is really good, why tip the waiter? Why not tip the chef or sous-chef? But you have to tip the waiter, hoping that some of it flows into the kitchen. That’s just idiotic. But I do it anyway.

          Tipping drivers for driving me to point B without accident? That’s really idiotic. I still do it if it is custom in that city (Manhattan cabs, etc.). However, if I leave my phone in the car and the driver contacts me and brings it to the house, they’ll get a huge tip. But I left my phone in a Manhattan cab whose driver I’d tipped (this was 2000), and by the time I got home hours later and could cancel the phone service, I had $350 in long distance calls to India on my account. I guess they talked until the battery died. So yeah, tipping really works in establishing a good relationship with the driver.

    • Julian says:

      Why would you use Apple Pay if you think it’s no good.

      Your sentence makes no sense and is in fact nonsense!

      Who is forcing you to use this Apple Pay service that you think is no good? Who?

  3. Gandalf says:

    In the 1990s, when the Internet was young, and dial up service was all there was, there were several “free” Internet sites that tried to build a sustainable business model based on getting advertising to pay for the “free” Internet. Demand for bandwidth was insatiable, however, and eventually they all gave up the ghost for $9 a month paid dial up Internet service. Pretty standard at the time.
    Most recently, with the merger of Time Warner Cable with Spectrum, and Spectrum with Charter, my home Internet bill doubled to $60 a month from $30 a month, with no options for a lower priced service.
    Uber and Lyft are going to have to deal with economic reality soon also. Driverless ride sharing is not ready for prime time yet. In the meantime, gullible investors are subsidizing these cheap rides.

  4. JB says:

    Wow, the amount of ground transportation business the ride share titans have garnered since 2014 is amazing ! Another example of of the new business paradigm; high stock prices , cheap credit, constant cash burn to only gain unsustainable market share. Amazon’s retail online flea market is a loss leader . Its cloud services make the dough. Enjoy it while you can, maybe something to trickle down economics. wonder if uber is monetizing its customer tracking data ? Great reporting

  5. Malthus says:

    “I didn’t have any cash on me, so I was unable to tip.”

    • Nick Kelly says:

      Always have some cash and always tip in cash to the server not at a till. Management can rip off tips and of course there is gov.
      Folks who think they are with it because they pay and tip with a tap of card or phone are not prepared for curve balls.

      You see survival kits (earthquake etc.) for sale. Add some cash.
      When the power goes off none of that stuff works but cash may.

  6. R2D2 says:

    More and more jobs becoming obsolete. Imagine how a taxi driver, or a car rental owner feels.

    • Dave says:

      I have never used uber/lyft, something about being driven around by a stranger just gives me the willies. When I travel I always rent a car at the airport, as I trust me behind the wheel much more than a stranger.

      Uber/Lyft are destroying rental car companies and the taxi business based on flawed fundamentals. Once they are done then what?

      • Kent says:

        Raise prices through the roof and be very profitable.

      • Blockhead says:

        That means you’d never use taxis as well, since you will be driven round by a stranger. Correct?

        • Dave says:

          I do not take taxis as well, you are correct. That is why I always rent a car when I travel.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          How good are you at driving on the other side while reading road signs in a language you can’t read, and dealing with traffic laws and driving habits you’re not familiar with, in an unfamiliar area, after you’ve been on an overnight flight and can barely keep your eyes open?

          If you do all that with aplomb, you’re my hero!!

        • Dave says:

          That being said if I was forced to get a ride by taxi or Uber, I would most definitely go taxi.

      • Nicko2 says:

        Uber and other ride-share companies are a stopgap until fully autonomous vehicles are viable…..we are only a few short years away from that reality.

        • Duke De Guise says:

          Right, and in a few short years, we’ll be partying in Elon Musk’s bars and nightclubs on Mars, too.

        • fajensen says:

          Sure – and we will have sex-bots that can cook and clean too within the same timespan of “only a few years” :)

          The algorithm for those very similar estimates for nuclear fusion power is: N+”a few years”, where N is Current Year! Stable, for the last 40 years or so.

          We don’t yet know how to build the kind of intelligence needed for self driving cars. Nobody has any clue how hard it will be (or not hard).

  7. MCH says:

    Ouch, Wolf, I read your commentary on tipping. I actually see your point. Those bastards at Uber and Lyft are simply transferring the cost of doing business to the consumers in a way that aligns with our cultural models. That enables them to stay afloat longer.

    It’s actually genius after a fashion.

  8. Gandalf says:

    They don’t tip in Italy either (at least not in Milan, where we went). Is there a list of countries where tips are not expected?

  9. Harvey says:

    Why don’t we tip engineers, teachers, or other public-sector employees? I dunno, prolly because each of those jobs are reasonably well-paid, solidly middle-class, and almost always come with pensions and health insurance? Why do we tip people making $2.50 an hour? Because they work in viciously competitive, price elastic industries with thin margins?

    • David G LA says:

      The 2.50 an hour wage is no longer the case in many states. In California the minimum wage law does not have an exemption for waiters. They are making minimum wage.

  10. Hungrig says:

    I remember when a good tip was 10%. Then it went up to 15%, then 20%. That is for just showing up and doing their job. They expect it, regardless of service. I get better service at Steak and Shake than other restaurants. Part of the reason it is so expensive to eat out is the server expects a tip for showing up. The restaurants should make it self serve, like Panera. I prefer that. I can get my own drinks.

    I actually had one server at Red Lobster who did not even give us silverware! We had to ask for every.single.thing. I would have been happier picking up my meal at a food counter somewhere. It is such a drama these days. I do not like eating out anymore.

    • Prairies says:

      I still do 10%, I always received 10% and their is no reason that the percentage should inflate.

    • Thelma says:

      You do realize that those servers you shaft are getting paid far less than minimum wage?

      • David G LA says:

        This is not the case in many states.

      • Hungrig says:

        I’m self employed. I work for free all the time. Most self employed people struggle all the time.

        I had an Uber driver from England. He had come to America to improve his retirement nest egg. It turned out he was paid less here than he was for his printing job in the UK. He also did not like the health care system here. He said that in the UK people do not tip. Americans have gone nuts with tipping. It is an insane imposition on people to make them feel bad for not paying someone a tip.

        I took a long cab ride in England and the driver told me that unless he did a special service for someone, he would never expect a tip. A special service being something like carrying someone’s groceries from the car to their front door. He had a relative in Canada and was really put out by the constant expectation that people deserved a tip. He saw it as them always having their hand out, and how it inflated the cost of everything.

        I think the 20% tip you are expected to pay is part of why people are not eating out so much. The food is all pre-made elsewhere, and you are expected to pay $12 for a hamburger, and pay a big tip on top of that. Nuts.

  11. Realist says:

    It will be interesting to see wether rates will be driven high enough ( and if so when ) that the bussiness model of Uber, Lyft and other cash burning players will run into the wall.

    When considering their business model from my point of view, it is defacto heavily built on being subsidized by the taxpayers. The little that ends up with the drivers of for example Uber isn’t enough to allow for putting away some for pensions or other savings, not to speak of insurance ( health etc ), just to name a few, ending up in the growing legions of prople dependent on social security in their old days.

    In civilized countries where health insurance, pensions etc are baked into the taxes paid, the drivers are supposed to handle these things themselves as any contractor out of what is left when Uber’s lion share and all the other costs are deducted, thus ending up without savings for a pension simply because not enough is left.

    But let’s look at the bright side: a lot of pension plans are going to go down the drain, levelling the playing field.

  12. Al Loco says:

    I flew into O’Hare a few weeks ago and was surprised by my ground trans situation. Uber is usually about 1/2 the cost of a taxi so I fired the app up. It was significantly more than usual at $45. Checked out the long cab line, $49. Called the number on the side of an American cab and waited 5 mins, $24. Tipped him a 5 too since my luggage fit nicely compared the Uber drivers who seem to always have shit piled up in their trunk.

    Any data on Turo? We’ve used it a few times and have been happy with it so far. Ever since a rental car Co tried to scam me out of $700 for a windshield I do anything possible to avoid renting.

    • Mikey says:

      Rental còmpanies are the worst. I got charged 3000 for a small scratch in ireland. The whole car was only worth 3000. It was supposed to be covered by my credit card but somehow it was not. I will never rent car again. I agree with wolf on the tipping. I do tip though, having worked in restaurants myself but always cash. Few uber drivers make any money. They just do not understand car depreciation costs.

  13. Bobber says:

    I was just in Vegas and they’ve now organized that city around uber and lyft. It left me wondering why the planners didn’t simply extend the train to the airport. It’s only a few miles away and they already have a train that goes up and down the strip. That’s what they should have done because Vegas Blvd is too crowded with traffic. You can barely stand it. My friends and I decided we are never going there again for a meetup. It’s now too congested and restaurant prices are very high. Tourist trap to the max.

    • No Handouts says:

      Vegas seems to be properly preparing for the future of transport. No need to waste public money on old technology like trains when new technology more efficiently uses existing road infrastructure. Autonomous vehicles will scale and become ubiquitous soon enough, eliminating old models of rail based systems.

      • Calendar says:

        Yep, got to keep the oil companies happy, and gawd forbid that people have the option of using an electric train up and down the one road in that town.

      • MR K C HIGGS says:

        Ironically autonomous trains and trams have been around for decades
        See London docklands light rail system, Amsterdam driverless trams etc. Plus rail has way more capacity and lower cost per passenger mile.

    • fajensen says:

      I was just in Vegas and they’ve now organised that city around uber and left
      So, what happens when the Uber / Lyft driver has an accident and the passengers end up hospitalised or worse?

      Is there an insurance for that? Who covers the risk?

      Here, one will need a professional liability insurance* if one is making money driving customers around. The “normal” personal liability / accident insurance don’t give a crap about “ride sharing” mythology – it does not cover businesses, any business, even a business in drag like Uber/Lyft, that is what the other product is for.

      *) And it won’t cover someone who is not licensed, because the business has to be legal to be insurable.

  14. Setarcos says:

    Had an acquaintance who was misguided enough to try to start a taxi company years ago (pre-uber). What he learned was that politicians cost more than cars (and are far less reliable).

    It appears tha Uber relies on drivers not understanding the all-in cost of operating and maintaining a car. So as a consumer, my Uber experiences have been very favorable from both cost and service perspectives. However, I have done enough business in other industries involving tech companies seeking to disrupt marketplaces to know they tend to have a tyrannical view of customers. Instead of win win relationships, they are willing to lose OTHER peoples money, i.e. lose win, while they attempt a longer run win lose relationship.

  15. unit472 says:

    I was planning a trip and wanted to stay in a good downtown hotel but also have a rental car to drive where and when I wanted to. Unfortunately the parking fee for a car was almost half the cost of the room.

    Maybe I am unaware but it seems to me rental car companies should step up here and deliver rental cars to guests at downtown hotels ( for a small fee) to avoid this problem. I get this service from my auto dealer when I have to drop my car off for a recall or service at no charge.

  16. David G LA says:

    Gig economy just delt a major blow by the California Supreme Court yesterday. It ruled that these drivers are not “independent contractors” but actual workers performing the primary function of the company – driving passengers. Let’s see the next trick Uber pulls out of its hat to get around this ruling.

    • Setarcos says:

      I have looked for the gun held to the head of the Uber drivers and others doing gigs for $, but saw far I haven’t seen one. Many Uber drivers are part-time, decide when they want to work, furnish their own car, etc.

      Not sure of all the CA Supreme Court thinking on this, but one thing seems likely …Uber by-passed the part where they kiss the ring of the kings and cut them into the action. Now the penalty for that is worse than a gun to the head.

      • Michael Fiorillo says:

        Look at the health insurance or medical bills in their desk drawer at home, and you’ll find that gun.

        Your comment proves the usefulness of Anatole France’s quote that the law is majestic, because it equally prohibits the rich and poor from sleeping on the street.

      • Cosmos says:

        Back when Microsoft was trying to call its employees “independent contractors”, I seem to remember that part of the definition of such a contractor was that they did work for different companies and weren’t dependent on one company. When you’ve only got one person paying you, then they are the boss and you are an employee and you’ve got to follow their dictates. The way Uber spies on people, I can’t imagine they’d be too happy if their drivers also did shifts for Lyft.

        • alex in san jose AKA digital Detroit says:

          I see plenty of cars with both Uber and Lyft stickers on them around here.

    • taxlady says:

      bit of a problem with this — according to federal tax code they are definitely contractors. CA supreme court cannot change federal rules. also, if you file Sched C [self-employed] you can legally deduct all sorts of expenses from your gross income to get your net. Employee business expenses are no longer deductible on Sched A, even if you itemize deductions.

  17. I would guess that drivers would not want cash tips, dmakes them a robbery target

  18. Lt says:

    Tipping rewards those who provide good or excellent service. It’s capitalism. It’s not as though service employees are stack ranked and given bonuses and stock options. Take care of those who take care of you.

  19. raxadian says:

    Most restaurants already charge you a tip is called “table service”. That goes to the waitress. I only tip if they don’t charge me table service or for the use of dishware since that also goes to the waitress too.

    I tend to tip at Cafes because is expected but they don’t have any of those extra charges on Cafes usually.

    If tips go away they will just charge you “table service” everywhere and I do think that would be way more fair. Everyone would get charged the same unavoidable tip.

    So yeah go away with tips, but don’t think that will save you any money. On the contrary, table service tends to be like a 1/5 of the bill!

    • European Waiter says:

      Actually, “fair” is when the wait staff is just paid a decent wage to begin with and they don’t rely on tips to be able to afford to have food in their homes.

      • Michael Fiorillo says:

        Thank you.

        Why is so hard for people to understand this simple fact?

    • David G LA says:

      What country are you writing from? We don’t have a “table service” charge in the US (except for a very few restaurants experimenting with eliminating tips.)

      • Gandalf says:

        Wolf is writing from the independent country of the People’s Republic of San Francisco, where restaurants are indeed commonly adding table service charges in lieu of an arbitrary tip. And the money get distributed to all the hired help, esp. the cooks, who used to never get tips, so it’s more fair. It’s increasingly common also to see this at the more expensive restaurants around the country – this is a way to hold on to the better cooking staff, rather than hire just anybody off the street.

        • Wolf Richter says:


          Don’t say “the independent country of the People’s Republic of San Francisco” out loud, or else people here will get ideas, and it’ll show up on the ballot ;-]

      • raxadian says:

        Ask for the “detailed” bill next time you eat at a restaurant. If they charge you anything besides what you ordered, no matter the name, that’s table service, or dishware use, or use of table or whatever you wanna call it.

        And is not only a few restaurant’s, more and more restaurants are doing it because people tends to not tip.

  20. L Lavery says:

    Eventually you’ll be able to whistle up a driverless car using your smart phone. You’ll pay using some form of crypto (maybe bitcoin using the Lightning Network). Not sure many will think it sensible to tip an autonomous vehicle. Anyway, a question comes to my mind, “are you renting a car or hiring a taxi?”

  21. lenert says:

    Didn’t think the tipping issue would be as big a deal as the transformation(?) of transportation but it got me to looking up stuff: in 18 states, the minimum wage is the federal minimum cash wage of $2.13. Something to remember when dining out in Mississippi?


  22. wnder under says:

    So, a market that once had some regulation and oversight — in that taxis needed licenses and the worst of the operators could lose their’s, becomes an unregulated market where the society has no say in who the operator is.

    Well, turns out that was truly awful for air travelers when the market ‘deregulated’. That turned into a competition for who could treat their customers the worst. Before we never saw something as outrageous as charging people extra for luggage, and there seemed to be a lot fewer incidents of air hosts and hostesses treating their captive passengers like . I’m guessing in a few years or a decade we might be wishing about the good ol days when taxi drivers had to get licenses.

    • Michael Fiorillo says:

      Yep, the War of All Against All gets tiresome after a while and is ultimately bad for business.

    • Kate Hykes says:

      For those of us who have been around long enough to have experienced both regulated and deregulated airline travel, those “onerous federal regulations” actually don’t seem bad at all in hindsight. Do an Internet search on “defunct airlines” and you’ll be shocked at all the unproductive business turnover. And of course the quality of service delivered gets steadily worse, well past the point that you think it can’t get any worse. And then, you stop flying altogether.

  23. Mary says:

    My most frustrating tipping situation is the car wash. The wash part is automated, but then there’s the person who spends 15 minutes detailing your wet car so it looks brand-new. So who deserves what compensation?

    For years the wash cost about $10. I’d tip the post-wash worker $5 and never think about it too much. Suddenly the wash costs $19.95. What the heck happened? Were the car wash owners stiffing their workers and now they’re being forced to pay minimum wage? Should I tip the same, more, less? The other day I panicked and gave the finish guy $10. I thought he was going to kiss my feet. Am I a fool or a generous person?

    Maybe I should just wash my own car. But then there’s all the social pressure in So. Calif. about wasting water.

    • lenert says:

      The rent’s too damned high. But you can wash your own car and be water friendly by parking it on the grass first.

      • Juanfo says:

        Then you would have to pay the HOA fine for parking a car in an unauthorized part of your property.

  24. Gian says:

    Let’s not forget about the “tip” most states demand, euphemistically called a sales tax, generally in the neighborhood of 8-9%. Add this to a server tip of 15-20% of a restaurant bill toatling $200 and you pony up another $46-$58 for your meal. Indeed, tipping is out of control!

  25. Lots says:

    Tip an Uber driver ? Make me laugh….

    He should be tipped with his 5 star rating and be happy !

    The sob stories pile up just as I was drying the tear from my eye after the uber story this comes by –

  26. Chester Hazelwood says:

    With no tips and only making $8 an hour seems like Lyft/Uber drivers should get some kind of fringe benefit.


  27. HBGuy says:

    I began using Uber in 2016 and while happy with the service in IOUSA, and especially the OC, I had a very bad experience in Buenos Aires with it. I was told Uber operated legally in Argentina, but apparently, did not. I was billed from a 3rd country, and later learned that despite what Uber’s website said, they weren’t operating legally in AR.

    In 2017, I used Uber in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto, as Lyft didn’t yet operate in Canada. Uber’s system frequently routed its drivers to the wrong side of the street, incorrect intersection and caused other problems. I haven’t had the same problem at home, but it was annoying.

    I took several business trips to NJ in Jan-Mar and used only Lyft to get around. The service has been excellent, pickups very prompt and haven’t had any issue getting a “lift” at EWR or elsewhere in north or central Jersey, despite the beautiful East Coast winter weather, with one exception.

    Going into the City from NJ was a problem, in part because of tolls and other restrictions drivers apparently face in NYC, at least in Manhattan. I’m aware that a portion of each ride is used to support the MTA, and there are probably other taxes added on to support Bill Blasio’s socialist nirvana.

    I also hope ridesharing comes, eventually, to Hongcouver, where the taxi union has managed to prevent it thus far (as well as anywhere else in BC). They’re no doubt paying off their taxi medallions, as Michael Cohen must still be doing with his NYC medallions.

    Overall, I love Lyft and the fact that I don’t have to alternate being the designated driver with my wife at wine dinners and other events.

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