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Congestion pricing plan, including ride-hailing app surcharge, could be coming soon

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Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Fix NYC task force is looking to place a new fee on Uber and Lyft vehicles

Alina Sun /

A new report conducted by former Department of Transportation official Bruce Schaller has found that cars from ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft are responsible, in large part, for unnecessary congestion on some of the city’s busiest streets. While private vehicular traffic, delivery trucks, and yellow taxis are also to blame, the report found that ride-hailing cars spend an average of 11 minutes of unoccupied time during weekdays in Manhattan’s business districts

As a result, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s state task force, Fix NYC, is exploring the possibility of effecting a new per-ride fee on all for-hire vehicles that make trips to Manhattan, reports the New York Times. The fee would be passed on to customers and will work as part of Cuomo’s congestion pricing plan that aims to both reduce traffic and raise money to fix the city’s ailing subway system.

Yellow taxis are already subject to a 50-cent surcharge that goes to the MTA, while ride-sharing apps are not (though they do collect local and state sales taxes on every ride).

Uber is not on-board with enforcing a surcharge and a spokeswoman for the company told the Times that there is already an “unfair fee system” where Uber customers pay more in sales tax than taxi riders do. The company suggests a new “transit tax system” to fund subway repairs, that charges based on road congestion at given times, rather than on the type of travel vehicle.

Cuomo is expected to announce a congestion pricing plan soon and hopes to gain legislation approval as early as January.