In the Toronto subform, there is a thread about InstaCart users that put a big juicy tip into the app, then retract that tip after delivery. You can imagine, this leaves drivers seething in rage. There is, very likely, a subset of drivers who will channel this rage into passive aggression, and the next customer may be hit with some undeserved punishment or substitution. The driver suffers. InstaCart's brand suffers. The gig economy suffers.
There is a small solution, a market driven one, and a very reasonable one.
THE MANDATORY TIP.
(I have suggested to a couple gig companies that I 'driver partner' with, several times in the past few weeks, but have been met with only silence.)
The analogy is that of a restaurant serving parties of 12 or more. Most establishments, including fast-casual franchises, automatically add an 18% gratuity to the bill. The reason for this is simply that it is tougher job to balance this circumstance. All the meals coming out on time for large parties simultaneously, the handling of many, varied, drinks or cocktails, as well as separating bill and such.
We are currently in those times for ride-hail and delivery. Welcome to our challenging times, where it just takes a bit longer to get things done: To disinfect the vehicle between rides. To wait in line (two meters apart) to get into the shop or restaurant for deliveries. To mask or not to mask? That is the question.
This would solve so many problems. Currently, Uber, and Lyft, struggle to get PPE and disinfectant or sanitizer supplies to their driver pool. Either supply lines are bottle-necked, or distribution protocols are being 'refined.' A 15% mandatory tip on every ride, with 100% of this gratuity going to the driver, would allow this distribution to be disseminated at the grass roots level. Uber, and other companies, would not have to bother, and they would let the driver manage procurement of these supplies. (Let's be blunt: This is what is happing, right now, anyway.) Drivers would feel appreciated and there would be less of a concern about them being, "An Essential Service," with more focus on just driving, as the 15% premium would go a long way towards profitability and tolerance for risk.
From an App coding point of view, this would be trivial to implement, and roll out. Rest assured, every driver would install the latest patch for a 15% bonus on every ride. Furthermore, in the spirit of community, this tip could be refunded, at the drivers discretion, for healthcare workers, other essential service workers, or simply a passenger on the edge, financially. But making it opt out rather than opt in (the current form of tipping options on most gig company apps, is woefully underused) and visible in the upfront pricing, it would appear to the passengers to be simply the cost of doing business in our current, reduced mobility, times.
If Apple and Android operating system providers can collaborate to make a universal tool to that lets every mobile device augment social distancing practices, and mitigate exposure, then certainly, Uber, UberEATS, Lyft, Amazon, Skip The Dishes, DoorDash, Instacart, and others, can all implement this simultaneously on a predetermined date going forward; so as to no lose business to their competitors.
It is the right thing to do.
It is a simple thing to do.
It would offer good PR to an industry in desperate of need it.
And really, people paying for delivery in these times, should have money to pay for the service they are receiving, given all the government fiscal bail outs and subsidies out there, all boats should rise with the tide. Including the lowly gig economy workers.