The past few months have been a particularly trying period for Uber, the world's most valuable start-up. Although the Company has been commercially successful, it has had to tackle a range of issues starting from sexual harassment at the workplace to angry drivers. Recently, Uber decided to implement changes starting at the very top and led their charismatic founder and CEO Travis Kalanick to resign. Yesterday, the company announced that riders will now have the option of leaving a tip for drivers if they so wish as part of their '180 days of change' plan.

A welcome U-turn

Over the years, Uber had consistently stated that they would not add a tipping option in their app and the reasons ranged from the sensible to the bizarre. While it was a legitimate concern on the company's part that drivers might try to cherrypick the neighbourhoods from where they pick up riders, it is also true that Uber such malpractices could easily be monitored and controlled.On another instance, they stated that it would bring an element of uncertainty to a ride for the customers.

However, after months of agitation from upset drivers about low pay, the company has finally relented and decided to add a tipping option to the app. While there is no doubt that it is a welcome U-turn for the company, it cannot be denied that it could very well be looked upon as a Public Relations move.

A public relations move?

One of most damaging public relations disasters that Uber faced over the past 6 months was that of a leaked video in which the company's CEO was seen arguing with an Uber driver about low pay and it eventually led to Kalanick stating that he would reinvent himself. However, with the departure of Kalanick from Uber for the time being and with the rollout of the '180 days of change' plan, they had to come up with something to tackle the issue of drivers' low pay.

This was probably the easiest way out of the problem without actually damaging the company's bottom line in any way whatsoever.

The step will probably get some good press for some time but ultimately, the whole thing needs to be beneficial for the drivers and at the same time, should not be a hassle for customers. If the drivers see no improvement in their income then Uber faces a big problem and at the same time, if riders find the idea of tipping inconvenient then the whole initiative might come crashing down. What if a driver and a rider get into an argument over a tip? The company might want to tread a bit more carefully with this measure.