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Seattle Proposes New Tax on Ride-Share Trips

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Photo: Rattlhed

Uber and Lyft are gaining popularity around the country as a convenient way to get around town without your own car. Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle is proposing a new 51-cent tax on these rides to help improve her city’s infrastructure.

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To be clear, Seattle already levies a 24-cent tax on ride-share trips to help pay for accessible taxi options for the handicapped. The new tax would bring the total to 75 cents per ride, which is still lower than New York City’s $2.75 tax and close to the 72-cent tax in Chicago.

What exactly would the new tax pay for? According to the mayor, some of the funds from the new tax would help pay for a new streetcar in downtown Seattle. That makes some area driver groups frustrated, according to the Seattle Times. Whereas the existing tax went to support projects associated with ride-hailing services, this new charge would pay for something aimed at a different part of the population.

Mayor Durkan also said that her office was looking into measures to help prevent the Uber and Lyft apps from cutting drivers off from the service and their livelihood without notice. In the future, the local government also wants to find a way to mandate a minimum pay rate for Uber and Lyft drivers within the city.

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Considering the myriad of labor issues apps like Lyft and Uber have brought up in recent years, these moves to protect drivers’ rights could be a step in the right direction. However, all of the proposed measures could drive up prices for riders. We’re sure Uber and Lyft will have something to say about that.

News Source: Seattle Times