Metro considers new tax plan that may boost Uber, Lyft prices

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Uber or Lyft riders may be paying more for their rides in the near future. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering a plan that could tax ride-hailing drivers, most likely raising prices.

Metro's board is slated to vote Thursday on funding a study to look into a ride-hailing tax. Metro administrators say Transportation Network Companies (TNCc) are profiting off the roads and freeways but not paying their fair share to maintain them.

"In the use of that public infrastructure, they're causing more congestion and potentially increasing pollution and environmental degradation," said Joshua Schank, Metro's chief innovation officer.

Schank says companies like Lyft and Uber are subsidizing the low cost of TNC rides, keeping them well below the fair market cost and taking a bite out of mass transit ridership.

Metro's ridership numbers have been dropping steadily for years, down 17 percent since 2014.

However, whether that's mainly due to ride-hailing companies is up for debate. Professor James Moore, the director of USC's Transportation Engineering Department, says Metro's biggest problem isn't TNCs, but spending too much on rail programs and not enough on bus service.

"Use the resources to expand bus service," Moore told Eyewitness News. "When we do that, ridership goes up. When we do the opposite, it goes down."

Metro will be looking at a wide range of possible fees and taxes for ride-hailing companies, ranging from 20 cents per ride to as much as $2.75 per ride. Those costs will most likely be passed along to the riders.
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