Uber gets on board with congestion pricing in Seattle

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The city is currently studying the feasibility of tolling busy downtown streets

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By Sarah Anne Lloyd@sarahannelloyd Oct 8, 2018, 10:39am PDT


Late last month, ride-hailing (and now bike-share) company Uber announced it would be devoting much of its lobbying energy to pushing for congestion pricing, or targeted tolls to reduce car traffic on city streets. Uber spokesperson Nathan Hambley confirmed to the Seattle Times that the company’s efforts would include lobbying for congestion pricing in Seattle.

“We applaud mayor Durkan’s commitment to put Seattle at the forefront of U.S. cities taking bold steps to address climate change and traffic congestion,” an Uber spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “As we’ve said before, we believe that one of the most effective ways to manage vehicle congestion is through road pricing. We therefore look forward to working with the mayor, Council Member O’Brien, and others to create incentives for everyone to share our limited space more efficiently, and to bring attention to the benefits of comprehensive congestion pricing from both an emissions and traffic reduction standpoint.”

Directing that effort to Seattle makes sense—Mayor Jenny Durkan has pushed to make the city the first in the nation to implement such a policy. Durkan announced an intent to study congestion pricing as part of a slate of climate action items in April, directing the Seattle Department of Transportation to begin studying possible models. then announced further funding for study as part of her proposed budget last month. The City Council is currently in the process of building its own budget.

Seattle is a city where Uber has gotten used to throwing its political weight around—starting with a 2014 referendum to suspend a city ordinance that would have implemented additional regulations and recently by rallying a parade of riders and drivers to speak against a city effort to study increasing per-mile fees. Having some support in Durkan’s corner could help raise public opinion of a policy in a tax-fatigued city already wary of tolls.

While a program like this hasn’t been implemented yet in the United States, we’re not the first U.S. city to have this conversation—and similar programs have seen success in Europe. In 2003, London started congestion pricing in many of its central neighborhoods, charging around $15 USD to drive a vehicle through between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. The program raised around $1.6 billion USD in the first 10 years. That money has gone toward mobility improvements that don’t rely on single-occupancy vehicles, including the city’s bus network and bike infrastructure. Other cities have gone so far as to ban certain types of vehicles from downtown streets altogether.

Still, Seattle has one of the most regressive tax structures in the country, and flat-rate tolls have a disproportionate impact on people with lower incomes. But proponents of congestion pricing argue that free roads have a disproportionate benefit to the wealthy.

“Free roads function like a matching grant for drivers: the more money people can invest in driving, the more benefit they get from unpriced streets,” UCLA urban planning professor Michael Manville told KUOW back in April. “If, conversely, you can’t afford to drive at all, free roads don’t help you.”

A Lyft spokesperson also confirmed to the Seattle Times that the company is supportive of congestion pricing.


https://seattle.curbed.com/2018/10/8/17952022/uber-seattle-congestion-pricing-tolls




 

dimwit_driver

Well-Known Member
Saw an article in the Seattle Times regarding this. So many questions. First, how would the logistics for this even work? Second, assuming it happens (and don't hold your breath on it happening anytime soon), who is going to pay for it? If it's insubstantial, are the drivers who have been paid the same rates for years going to be expected to eat it? Are they going to pass it along to pax, like 520 tolls? How is that going to affect ridership? Or is it a way to encourage more pool/shared, which we all know makes more money for them and less for drivers? Or do they look at it as another way to charge riders and pad the service fee, again taking more money for themselves? If Uber/Lyft are for it, my guess is it means nothing good for drivers, only for U and L's respective bottom lines.
 

aspacepig

Well-Known Member
Theyll push for congestion charges on single occupancy cars entering the city. Two or more, will be free: driver and rider(s).

Win win for Luber. Less congestion, more demand.
 

K-pax

Well-Known Member
Theyll push for congestion charges on single occupancy cars entering the city. Two or more, will be free: driver and rider(s).

Win win for Luber. Less congestion, more demand.
So if we are waiting for pax we get tolled? Or enter the city without pax we get tolled?
 

aspacepig

Well-Known Member
So if we are waiting for pax we get tolled? Or enter the city without pax we get tolled?
I'd imagine that would be the case entering the city. Once you're in, you're in.

In London, the city most often cited for its congestion charging, it's a one time fee per day.

"The Congestion Charge is an £11.50 daily charge for driving a vehicle within the charging zone between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday. The easiest way to pay is by registering for Congestion Charge Auto Pay. Exemptions and discounts are available."
 

Peter Vann

Well-Known Member
Makes sense for uber. Make it more expensive for regular drivers to drive in DT Seattle thus pushing them into rideshare. Social engineering courtesy of Seattle gov & uber. If you thought there were swarms of ants now, wait until Later.
 

K-pax

Well-Known Member
I'd imagine that would be the case entering the city. Once you're in, you're in.

In London, the city most often cited for its congestion charging, it's a one time fee per day.

"The Congestion Charge is an £11.50 daily charge for driving a vehicle within the charging zone between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday. The easiest way to pay is by registering for Congestion Charge Auto Pay. Exemptions and discounts are available."
So... get a ride to Renton or Shoreline, get charged for returning. Gonna make those types of quick mileage runs really suck. I would be depleting my good2goo at least a couple times a week under this scheme, as I’m sure they would eventually extend the toll to 24/7, much like 520.

Is Seattle set on ruining it’s tourism, nightlife, business and convention industry? I have already noticed tourism is down this year compared to last year in Seattle.
 

aspacepig

Well-Known Member
So... get a ride to Renton or Shoreline, get charged for returning. Gonna make those types of quick mileage runs really suck. I would be depleting my good2goo at least a couple times a week under this scheme, as I’m sure they would eventually extend the toll to 24/7, much like 520.

Is Seattle set on ruining it’s tourism, nightlife, business and convention industry? I have already noticed tourism is down this year compared to last year in Seattle.
No no. I'm saying it would likely be a one-time daily charge.
 

K-pax

Well-Known Member
Makes sense for uber. Make it more expensive for regular drivers to drive in DT Seattle thus pushing them into rideshare. Social engineering courtesy of Seattle gov & uber. If you thought there were swarms of ants now, wait until Later.
Only if commercial drivers are exempt somehow. It’s going to make working Seattle much more difficult. We’re not talking making a return trip from Bellevue on 90 instead of 520, here. It’ll be more like the situation down in Gig Harbor. Someone takes you out and you will have to pay out of pocket to get back in. Even if I intentionally work Seattle for a night, I will leave and come back many times on trips.

No no. I'm saying it would likely be a one-time daily charge.
Doubtful. This is Seattle we’re talking about. They would make it variable pricing on your good2go and would increase it to 24/7 in a year or two once people got acclimated... in order to fund more road construction projects which kills tourism and nightlife in the city due to full weekend closures every single weekend of the year.
 
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