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Lyft adds driver-friendly features including default tipping option

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Riders will be able to set a tip percentage that’s added automatically to future trips

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Lyft is making it easier for riders to tip their drivers, with new features for the Lyft app that allow tipping-by-default and tipping mid-journey.

The option to tip by default will let customers set a percentage for tips that will be added automatically to all journeys if they don’t “proactively rate a trip and add a tip themselves.” The mid-journey tipping option simply does what it says: letting customers tip before their ride is over. These updates will be available for “select riders” in December, and rolling out to more customers in the New Year.

Alongside the tipping options, Lyft announced a pair of new features aimed at drivers, not riders. The first is an updated driver home screen. This already displays things like local events that are likely to increase demand, but will now add more granular data, with predictions about hourly demand for the whole week ahead.

The default tipping option lets you set a tip percentage that’s added automatically to future journeys.
Credit: Lyft

The second update aims to sidestep the tyranny of the rating system. As most people know, drivers for Lyft and Uber are booted from the service if their star-rating drops below a certain level (riders too). This has created rating inflation, where riders’ confusion of what constitutes a “fair rating” has meant that anything below five stars can jeopardize someone’s ability to work.

To try and avoid this situation Lyft is making any ride that goes unrated default to a five-star rating. The company says this is because “when a passenger doesn’t rate a trip, it’s usually because everything ran like clockwork, and they were satisfied with their service.” This makes sense, especially considering what’s at stake for the driver.

Lyft also says that these latest updates are the beginning of a new regime where it will roll out “at least one new feature or enhancement” to the app, for riders or drivers, every month.