Every time a ride ends, you have that vexing option: Do you want to leave a tip? It’s an option presented to you after cab rides, as well as after rides with Uber, Lyft and other car-share services.

But how much do you tip a taxi driver?

You don’t want to tip too little and break with etiquette. But you also don’t want to tip too much and spend more than you need to. Here’s a look at some key considerations, as well as an answer to the question: Who much do you tip a taxi driver?

This post is for people getting rides in the United States — where we have a prominent tipping culture. There are some countries where tips are virtually non-existent, both in restaurants and in cabs, because service workers make a living wage. So, if you’re traveling abroad, check out the local customs before you tip.


Your Guide to Tipping the Taxi Driver

Here’s the short answer: You should tip your cab driver between 15 and 20 percent. They are providing a service, and services in America are met with a tip.

But how do you decide on the exact amount? Remember that not all services are provided equally as well. Consider several things before you land on a final tip amount:

  • Speed: How quickly does your cab arrive if summoned? Does you cab travel quickly but safely? These things matter. Of course, you can’t blame your driver for bad traffic.
  • Courtesy: Does your cab driver help with bags? Is the cab clean? Is your driver courteous throughout the ride?
  • Knowledge: If you’re in a strange town, you might ask for recommendations about where to go, what to do, how the weather is going to be. Also, you can sometimes tell if your driver is taking a nuanced route that only the experts know about. If so, that should be worth something extra.
  • Conversation (or Lack Thereof): A cab driver should be able to read his or her riders. Do they want to chat? If so, a driver should be able to chat. Do they want to ride in silence? If so, a driver should respect that. If your driver is on his or her cell phone the whole time, feel free to tip closer to 15 than 20 percent.

If you’re looking for a simple solution for tipping, 20 percent is always easier to calculate than 15 percent. Just double the cost and move the decimal one place over, and there you have it. A 5 percent jump in tip isn’t likely to break your bank — but it’s the type of thing that could make your cabbie’s day.


What About Uber and Lyft?

Do you never take cabs? If you’re more into the car-sharing scene, there are a few things you should know before tipping.

Uber was reluctant to promote tipping at all when it first came on the scene. In those early years, it was amazing to see a driver’s face light up when they received a cash tip. In fact, some would even say: “You don’t have to do this.” It was a gift.

But, since the end of July 2017, Uber has allowed in-app tips. Tips are not required, but, of course, they are appreciated. You can even give a tip up to 30 days after your ride is complete. When you rate your driver, you’ll be asked if you want to give a tip. Choose one of the recommended options, or you can customize your own tip amount. Here is more information on how to tip an Uber driver.

Lyft has always been a little more tip-friendly for drivers. After a ride with Lyft, just visit the Rid History tab and choose to Tip Driver for one of your trips. You can add a tip up to three days after the trip is final — and 100 percent of the tip amount goes to your driver. Here’s more information on how to tip a Lyft driver.

So, what is the right amount to tip an Uber or Lyft driver. Try sticking to the same 15 or 20 percent. It’s rumored that many car-share drivers have been getting reduced fares as these relatively new companies figure out their business models. Adding 15 to 20 percent doesn’t cost you much — but it could mean the world to a driver just trying to make ends meet.


Final Thoughts on How Much to Tip a Taxi Driver

Thank goodness for modern technology. Back in the cash-only days, I used to get hives about paying for cab fares — tips included. Some cabs had credit card machines, some didn’t — and some use the old-school carbon-imprint method that is super sketchy.

But, today, you can always use your credit card. And you can add the tip right onto the bill. It’s easy. And, with Uber and Lyft, you can tip right through an app tied to your credit card. So, no more excuses, give a tip to your driver and let them know they did a good job.

Do you have any other thoughts on how much to tip a taxi driver? If so, send us a message through our contact page, or just leave your message in the comments section below.