Thanks for opening it up Native Austinite.
I am a full time consultant and web developer. I started driving Lyft in July 2014 and Uber November 2014 to help get party goers home from bars and raise money for charity. What I found is that conversations about causes people cared about made for really positive experiences
I developed RideCares for a couple reasons:
1) Ridesharing is a unique platform of engagement. With every random stranger, we have a chance to a mundane small talk conversation into an extraordinary experience.
2) Ridesharing is part of the "abandoned" service industry segments when it comes to tips.
Combine the two and you get RideCares.
The only hope to make money from uber driving is surges, or with Select, Lux, or XL. HOWEVER there are other ways to make money like referring and getting tips which as you mentioned are very uncommon.
While it would be nice if everyone could just get their own Select car for free, that's not possible,
So, how do you get more money for free?!?! You need MORE TIPS!!
Well, perhaps make a placard that mentions Uber's tipping policy. Perhaps introduce a tip jar. Both have been effective at getting more tips for various drivers, but they are both against Uber policy and can get you deactivated. (Source: Uber.. not the robot, actual employees)
UGH! Now what? Well guess what? A sticker in your car (which you can view on the RideCares site) that says "This ride supports a cause. Ask me about ridecares" with a link to your personal RideCares site is not against Uber policy. If a passenger brings it up, you are allowed to explain what it is. "RideCares is a community of rideshare drivers making a difference. While tipping is not necessary with Uber, on the occasion I receive them, I donate [10-100%] of my tips to [a cause you personally care about]" (and oh yeah, your personal ridecares site- has three methods to receive online tips via paypal, venmo, or square cash)
If you're wondering what's in it for me: I lose money. Plain and simple. This is my gift to both drivers and causes. Luckily I have a full-time job that's NOT FOR UBER and gives me lots of flexibility to pull something off like this.
In about a month we're over 20 drivers with a few joining every week, and I'm spending a lot to start raising awareness for passengers of RideCares. The more passengers that know about it, the more they will recognize the stickers and tip drivers. (I have 1,000 koozies I'll be passing out at the ACL dropoff tomorrow, social media ads, promo cards, etc...)
Consider this a campaign for more tips across the entire rideshare industry. You're right, passengers think they cannot tip drivers because that was Uber's original language "DO NOT TIP DRIVERS!" (which has been lightened), when in actuality, they can tip us.