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Lyft says its drivers have earned $500 million in tips

The last $100 million was given in just four months, the ride-hailing service says.

Lyft says its drivers have earned more than $500 million in tips from customers.

Lyft drivers have received more than $500 million in tips from their customers, the ride-hailing service said Monday.

Lyft took four years to reach the $100 million mark for tips, but only four months to collect the last $100 million, the company said. The average size of tips also increased by 8 percent in 2017 compared with the previous year, Lyft said, probably thanks to an app overhaul last June that offered customers pre-set tip options.

Lyft has become a solid contender to rival Uber, providing passengers with 375.5 million trips in 2017, a 130 percent rise in the number of rides from the previous year, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company said in January. 

But compared with Uber, Lyft has long been a small fry of the ride-hailing world. For example, Lyft operates in nearly 300 cities, has received $4.1 billion in venture funding and is valued at $11.5 billion, whereas Uber is in more than 450 cities, has received $12.9 billion in funding and is valued at $68 billion.

Still, Lyft has steadily grown while Uber has been mired in scandals. Lyft launched in dozens of new cities across the US in 2017 and is now as ubiquitous as Uber in some markets.

Lyft has offered in-app tipping for more than five years, but limits gratuities to $50 or 200 percent of the cost of the ride, whichever is lower. Like Uber, which rolled out its long-sought-after tipping feature last June, Lyft says it aims to protect riders from fat-finger typos.

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