Ride-hailing service Lyft has always offered passengers the option to tip their drivers and all those tips have added up — to half a billion dollars.
The San Francisco company announced Monday its riders have tipped a total exceeding $500 million. More than half of those extra earnings came in 2017. It took tipping a while to catch on — the first $100 million came in over a four-year period. Then last year $260 million was tipped in one year, with $100 million coming in in the past four months.
After new tipping options came online last year the average tip amount increased almost 10 percent. Lyft says higher tips come in on Friday and Saturday nights, during weekend brunch hours, and afternoon work day commutes.
In June, Uber changed its stance on tipping and started offering an in-app option to throw you driver a buck or two (or more), as part of its driver-improvement campaign, 180 Days of Change. The Lyft competitor had held out on building tipping into the app for years. In a blog post back in 2016, the company said, “we felt it would be better for riders and drivers to know for sure what they would pay or earn on each trip — without the uncertainty of tipping.”
After six months of tipping drivers had earned $200 million in tips. Uber didn’t have more updated numbers in the months since, but if it continues at the same pace Uber should match Lyft’s half-a-billion milestone at its one-year anniversary in a few months.
The same month that Uber appeased to drivers’ pleas for a tip feature, Lyft introduced new features to increase tip sizes, like higher preset amounts for high-fare trips.
To celebrate all that tipping, Lyft brought in performer Demi Lovato to give music advice to four lucky musician-drivers, along with VIP tickets to a Miami show, and studio recording time. That’s quite the tip.