I’ve been a rideshare driver for three and a half years and have an average 5-star rating on both Lyft and Uber. I started as a driver in order to make extra money while I had a full-time job. But when I lost full-time work, I rideshare driving has been my main source of income for the last two and a half years.
This week, I’ve become aware that the Seattle City Council is currently debating a plan that would increase the rideshare tax on passengers riding to or from Seattle by 200 percent. The council is saying it will benefit the drivers, but the plan is not for any of the proceeds from the tax to be spent on drivers. Instead it will be spent on affordable housing and the Seattle Streetcar expansion project, which is already operating at a 100 percent cost overrun. And I am all for these things, just not at the expense of my livelihood.
As it stands now, the average passenger, who uses two rides a day to get to and from work pays approximately $140 per year in rideshare taxes. The increase in tax would balloon that tax cost to $375 per year. This affects the drivers as well. If the tax were increased, some may consider taking other forms of transportation, which means rideshare drivers would earn less, and therefore, have less wage security.
Rather than increasing the rideshare tax, I urge the City Council to come up with other plans to change the rideshare industry, including protections for drivers like wage security and benefits, while still allowing our independence to work the hours and places we wish to drive.