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Many New Yorkers are talking about the changes happening next year that will impact all taxis, for-hire vehicles, and pooled rides. Governor Andrew Cuomo introduced a surcharge for all of these services that is part of a greater plan to help fund improvements to the MTA. The expectation is that these efforts will help decrease traffic congestion, while at the same time encouraging people to use public transportation instead of alternatives.
The surcharge will be a $2.75 fee added to all standard rideshare vehicles, $2.50 for yellow/green taxis, and $.75 for pooled rides like UberPool and LyftLine. The changes will take place starting in 2019, and generate an expected $400 million in revenue per year to go to the MTA improvements.
There are some critics of this newly proposed systems. For one, rideshare and taxi passengers do not seem too happy about it. This new fee is on top of the other standard fees that companies like Uber and Lyft charge automatically, which will be remaining constant as this new fee is added next year.
Second, some critics question whether or not the surcharge will impact traffic congestion. While it may be true that rideshare users may be upset by the charge, they may not go as far as using public transportation instead. There is no guarantee that this new program will decrease the traffic congestion on the roads. Some people even believe that the program will encourage people to ride their personal vehicles if they start to be cheaper than taking a rideshare.
And lastly, others wonder how this will impact the regular budgeting process and existing tax revenues. If public transportation is receiving this new stream of revenue, no one is quite sure how that will change the existing funding it receives. The program benefits the transit system, but not necessarily other items that are categorized under the greater public transportation category like bridge maintenance and street pavings.
Per-ride fees like this already exist for rideshare companies in Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Washington D.C., and Boston, however in a much smaller scale.