The District of Columbia’s City Council is at it again with their shenanigans that will keep people out of this city.
DC Ward 1 Councilmember Brianne Nadeau has proposed a $2 surcharge fee added to all rideshare trips “[into] downtown and nearby neighborhoods from 7 a.m. to noon, and then to trips out of those same areas from noon to 7 p.m., seven days a week.” Basically, this amounts to a $2 tax on anyone who wants to get in or out of the heart of DC from surrounding areas using rideshare services.
Nadeau argues that her proposal will generate a surge in revenue for the city. But guess what? That’s dependent on if people can still afford to take rideshare services. Average costs for ridesharing have already increased around 45% between January 2019 and March 2022 due to a driver shortage and rising prices for gas and health services. A proposal like this would add a “nice,” fat cherry on top of those costs, likely leading to a decrease in ridership.
It will also discourage folks from coming into DC’s downtown, which is already a problem for the city. DC’s “customers”—also known as the people who both live here and want to use public transit—are dissatisfied with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) and the city’s management of it. Fare jumping, safety concerns, increased telework and more have contributed to the demand for alternative transit options. Instead, Nadeau’s surcharge proposal will punish DMV residents for being dissatisfied with DC’s own mismanagement.
What’s more, WMATA just approved a fare hike that will go into effect on July 1, 2023.
So, Nadeau wants to penalize people for not using WMATA’s services because the city hasn’t been able to meet their standards, and simultaneously, raise prices on the residents who do use WMATA, punishing them and their families, too.
Additionally, Washington D.C. already has some of the highest taxes in the country and has a heavier tax burden on their residents than 39 states. Additionally, the city is the fifth most expensive in the U.S. The city council should explore ways to relieve residents of the high cost of living, rather than saddling them with more taxes.
It’s the typical progressive playbook that disregards consumer demand by trying to “fix” things with the supposedly brilliant hand of government. In reality, proposals like Nadeau’s just end up increasing prices for consumers and the costs of maintenance over time, forcing people further and further out of the area, and discouraging people from moving here all together.
Residents of the DMV area: contact your representatives to stop the DC City Council from adding this $2-per-ride price increase to the dramatic rise in costs we’ve seen over the last few years.