Sign Active Trans’ petition supporting fair ride-hailing fees and more transit funding
Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s proposal to hike the city fees on private and downtown ride-hailing trips, while lowering the price of shared rides in the neighborhoods a bit, has sparked plenty of controversy. In fairness, the initiative may be a little difficult for many Chicagoans to wrap their heads around. After all, Uber and Lyft are super-convenient and relatively cheap, and aren’t they taking private cars off the road, which is good for the environment?
In reality, having someone pick you up at your door and give you a private ride right to your destination is a luxury. Granted, it’s one that’s currently affordable because the companies are burning through lots of venture capital to keep fares artificially cheap, which isn’t financially sustainable.
And ride-hailing, as it currently exists, is causing many problems for urban transportation. Due to “deadheading,” driving around with no passengers, and replacing non-car trips, Uber and Lyft are actually resulting in more vehicle miles traveled, congestion, pollution, and crashes than before they existed. They’re slowing down bus service and cannibalizing transit ridership, which will ultimately lead to less and worse service, which hurts lower-income and working-class residents the most.
Discouraging unnecessary ride-hailing trips, especially single-passenger rides in the congested, transit-rich central business district, and encouraging more shared rides, through the new pricing will help. Moreover, Lightfoot has promised to earmark some of revenue from the new fees to improving transit service, including the city’s new Bus Priority Zones program. It will also fund a congestion pricing study that will look into implementing fees to discourage unnecessary private car trips as well, and using the revenue to further invest in transit.
As such, Active Trans has gotten squarely behind the mayor’s proposal with a new petition. “Tell Mayor Lightfoot and your alderman to support better bus service, fair ride-hailing fees, and a congestion pricing study that prioritizes racial equity,” it states.