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Op-Ed: Ride Sharing Tax Will Help Poor

Chicago's Mayor Emanuel's proposed tax would be used for the benefit of transit.
October 31, 2017, 1pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposal to tax ride sharing services will help poor Americans, argues The Washington Post Editorial Board.

While many have touted ride sharing as an alternative to car ownership that might reduce traffic and vehicle miles traveled (VMT), the rise of services like Uber and Lyft seem to be doing the opposite. "Half or more of all ride-hailing trips would not have been made at all, or would have been undertaken by foot, bicycle or transit," according to The Washington Post. Keeping people off mass transit means less funding for transit and less investment in transit from those who can afford Uber. "In a new transportation study from the University of California at Davis, researchers confirm what many urban officials already suspected — that bus and rail-system passengers are also being lured away," according to The Washington Post.

"Services such as Uber are in fact generating traffic, then they are a mixed blessing and should be treated accordingly by policymakers," they write, concluding that, "it is equitable to raise revenue from services such as Uber, which are used disproportionately by wealthier passengers, for the benefit of transit, which serves a mass clientele."

Mayor Emanuel has been given the nickname Mayor One Percent, because his moves to remove services from poor areas and people in the city. The editorial suggests that this proposal might do something to temper that reputation.

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Published on Thursday, October 19, 2017 in The Washington Post
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