UNION STATION (CBSLA) — The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering taxing ride share companies like Uber and Lyft in hopes of seeing less of them on the road, and more people taking trains and buses, this after a 20 percent drop in Metro ridership over the last five years.
“One of the ways we could potentially reduce congestion is to make sure that Uber and Lyft are charging fares that are closer to their fare market value because right now they are underpricing their services,” said Joshua Schank, chief innovation officer at LA Metro.
On Thursday Metro’s board will vote whether to approve a study that would take a close look at Uber and Lyft’s impact.
Depending on the results, the transportation authority will consider various ways to tax the company such as a per ride fee.
“We don’t want people driving Ubers and Lyfts without any passengers, which happens a lot and causes more congestion. We want to encourage people to share rides and pool people within
Ubers and Lyfts so they are not just carrying one person,” said Schank.
“What goes through my head immediately is I’m wondering if I’m getting taxed or if the rider is getting taxed. Because if the rider is getting taxed, they are paying for the service so that’s on them if they want to use it or not. But if they want to tax me, it’s a little different because it’s work, my job,” said Uber driver Joe Hill.
CBSLA reached out to Uber and Lyft. In a statement, Uber said “while we support evidence-based solutions designed to reduce congestion, we would caution against singling out specific services in ways that could limit choice and transportation costs.”
The earliest a tax would be set in motion is late next year and if everything goes according to Metro’s plan, toll and congestion pricing for all other drivers would be implemented around the same time.