Proposed Uber, Lyft fees could raise up to $112m

Assessments included in bill on governor’s desk

NEW FEES on Uber and Lyft rides contained in the transportation bond bill sitting on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk could raise somewhere between $56 million and $112 million, according to an analysis by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council.

The state currently assesses a 20-cent fee on all Uber and Lyft rides. The proposal in the bond bill would replace the current fee with a 40-cent fee on shared rides, a $1.20 fee on non-shared rides, an extra $1 fee on rides in luxury cars, and an extra 20-cent transit fee on rides starting and ending in an area encompassing Boston, Cambridge, and 12 other contiguous  communities.

Eric Bourassa, director of transportation at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, said the council hopes and expects the governor to sign the legislation. “We wanted to highlight how this is a nice, modest increase in funds for transportation,” he said of the revenue analysis.

The Metropolitan Area Planning Council estimated potential revenues using two potential scenarios – one using the actual ride data from 2019 (91.1 million trips in all) and the other cutting the number of trips in half to reflect current pandemic ridership levels based on financial statements issued by Lyft.

The analysis indicates total revenues would range from $56.2 million to $112.4 million, with 84 percent of the money coming from shared and solo rides. The 20-cent transit fee would raise between $6.6 million and $13.2 million. The luxury car fee would raise between $2.3 million and $4.6 million.

The revenue from shared and solo rides is split with 25 percent going to the municipalities where rides originate, 50 percent to the Commonwealth Transportation Fund, and 25 percent to a Transit Authority Fund with the money split evenly between the MBTA and regional transit authorities.

Meet the Author

Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Based on the council’s calculations, municipalities would receive between $13 and $26 million, the Commonwealth Transportation Fund between $25.4 and 56.8 million, and MBTA and regional transit authorities sharing between $11.8 and $23.6 million.

The MBTA alone could pocket between $12.5 million and $25 million if all of the money from the 20-cent transit fee flows to the T as well.