Uber, whose vehicles were proven in a study to have dramatically worsened traffic in parts of New York City, is pushing itself near the front of the queue of people requesting a reduction in Manhattan congestion taxes.
“Say no to increasing fares,” Uber’s riders were told in an email on Thursday. “We need your assistance. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) recently released its preliminary environmental assessment for congestion pricing… New tolls as high as $23 per trip during peak hours are among the proposed.
The email concludes with a link to a petition that supporters can sign.
In an email, Uber stated that it supported the implementation of congestion pricing in 2019. However, the email said that the tolls would be a “double tax” for riders, who have been paying a $2.75 fee for rides entering Manhattan south of 96th St. since 2019.
When it passed the Legislature in 2019, Uber supported congestion pricing. The tolls are slated to go live in early 2024, assuming federal clearance.
The company’s backing for the concept follows a 2017 analysis by mobility consultant Bruce Schaller, who found that the expansion of Uber, Lyft, and other e-hail businesses worsened traffic congestion by 7% in Manhattan, western Queens, and west Brooklyn.
Uber spokesman Josh Gold said the company still supports congestion pricing but is concerned that its costs will be borne disproportionately by motorists in the outlying boroughs.
Gold believes it is unjust that the MTA’s plan would charge Uber drivers and consumers as they enter the zone from upper Manhattan or other boroughs but not as they move within the area, such as from Wall Street to Midtown.
It’s unclear if taxis or for-hire vehicles like Uber will be paid once per day or every time they enter the toll zone, which will be below 60th Street in Manhattan under state law.
The site excludes the West Side Highway and FDR Drive.