Uber, Lyft prices to increase following D.C. Council tax legislation

Media Credit: File photo by Olivia Anderson | Photo editor

The D.C. Council unanimously voted to increase the tax on ride-hailing services like Uber from 1 to 6 percent Tuesday.

Rides to locations around D.C. will come with a higher price tag next semester due to a tax increase.

The D.C. Council unanimously voted to boost the tax on ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft and Via from 1 to 6 percent beginning in October, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The tax contributes to a plan to raise almost $180 million annually to fund Metro improvements.

The revenue tax will be charged directly to the ride-hailing companies, but companies said they plan to tack the added charge on to rides, The Post reported.

In a budget report, the Council states that ride-hailing services “contribute to traffic congestion, add wear and tear to the District’s roads, and there is evidence that they draw people away from public transit.”

Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Via have opposed the tax increase.

“This new and disappointing Council proposal, introduced at the last minute and well after any public hearings and discussion, blindly seeks to impose a 500 percent tax increase on all for-hire vehicle trips, ignoring the benefits of encouraging District residents to responsibly share their trip and help take cars off the road,” Gabrielle McCaig, a spokeswoman for Via, told WAMU.

Colin Tooze, a spokesman for Uber, said in an interview with The Post that the company was disappointed by the vote, but they will continue supporting “smart policies that give District residents alternatives to owning or driving their own cars.”

Tooze added that the Council “missed an opportunity” to tax ride-sharing services, like Uber’s pool option, at a lower rate than individual rides.

D.C. Councilmember Brandon Todd, who represents Ward 4, said in a tweet Tuesday he was disappointed with the new legislation and was “inundated” with emails from concerned D.C. residents.

Todd added that he would introduce a bill proposing a new version of the tax in two weeks.

Mayor Muriel Bowser initially proposed a tax increase for ride-hailing companies in March, but her proposal sought to increase the tax to 4.75 percent instead of 6 percent approved Tuesday, according to The Post.

With the added tax, companies will also be required to submit data to the District, like the number of drivers they employ, the number of miles driven and popular pick-up and drop-off locations, according to The Post.

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