The head of Metro's board says he doesn't think that rideshare customers know what they pay for rides and a plan to tax Uber and Lyft to fund Metro likely won't make a difference to those passengers.
A tax on ride-share companies is part of a major plan to provide a new revenue stream for the troubled transit system.
"So we are adding an additional 35 cents onto a $10 ride. No one will notice that. No passengers will know because they have no idea what they are going to pay anyway,” Metro Board Chairman Jack Evans said at a meeting Thursday.
Evans questioned whether anyone really knows how much an Uber ride costs from one day to another.
”At no time can you predict how much it costs to ride Uber. I have never been charged the same amount ever," Evans said. "They put charges on my Uber account all the time. When it snows out, when it rains out, when they have too many cars on the road. So, you have no way of knowing how much Uber is going to cost you.”
Uber does list fare estimates when riders enter their destination and choose which type of car service they want. Uber says on its website that a trip can be longer than expected due to events beyond the driver's control, such as traffic or construction. A longer trip can raise the fare higher than the app's estimate or a previous fare for a similar route.
Bowser met face-to-face with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Wednesday to discuss the tax plan that would generate millions of dollars for Metro.
"That is how we are supporting what Metro needs and what the region needs,” Bowser said at a press event Wednesday.
Khosrowshahi has agreed with a plan to fund mass transit and Metro, but he said that any tax on Uber would ultimately funnel down to the customer.
"To the extent that the tax gets passed, it will be a part of the price and it will increase the price of Uber,” Khosrowshahi told News4.
The plan stirred controversy on social media. Some say the riders shouldn't be punished for Metro's issues, while others said Uber should have to pay its share for public transit.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is expected to sign a bill Friday that will put the new funding stream in place.
Uber has told News4 it still wants to fine-tune some of the details of the plan.