Proposed fee on Uber, Lyft rides would aid cash-strapped RTA

Proposed fee on Uber, Lyft rides would aid cash-strapped RTA

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Uber and Lyft may soon increase fares 27 cents per ride if a newly proposed ride-sharing fee is approved in Cuyahoga County.

Supporters of the proposal said the goal is to give RTA the revenue those ride-sharing fees generate, which would be about $2 million per year.

Every weekday, more than 150,000 people use the Greater Cleveland RTA to get to where they're going, but some people believe this year's upcoming cuts and fare hikes will steer riders away.

"RTA is in a death spiral. The more service they cut, the more they increase fares, every time they increase fares they lose 10 percent ridership, so the solution can't be just cut, cut, cut, we need to get creative and do something," said Clevelanders for Public Transit Volunteer Coordinator Chris Stocking.

Clevelanders for Public Transit is the group that wants 27-cent ride-sharing fees tacked on to Uber and Lyft rides to raise money for RTA.

"We've been told that in order to prevent the fare hike we'd only need to find about $2 million per year, so we started getting creative and this looked like a good solution," Stocking said.

The group recently proposed the idea to Cuyahoga County Council after watching Chicago pass similar legislation.

"If Cleveland wants to be a world class city, you have to have good public transportation," Stocking said.

In a statement, RTA said:

"RTA is in favor of any ideas that will generate revenue. However, this is not a proposal that RTA can complete on its own. This type of proposal would need to be supported and approved by the Cuyahoga County Council, as it was approved and supported by the Chicago City Council in Illinois."

Stocking said the group wants to meet with RTA, before things get any worse.

"Ridership levels have not been this low since RTA was formed in 1975, and it just keeps declining every year," he said.

If the fee is approved by Cuyahoga County Council, there's no timeline on when the 27-cent charges could go into effect.

In a statement, Lyft told Cleveland 19 News:

"This is the first we've heard of this proposal. It is important to note that fees such as this would be paid for by passengers, thus increasing the cost of ridesharing services for those in the community."

Uber sent Cleveland 19 information regarding ride sharing regulations. The company said the services in Ohio include a preemption on local taxes.

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