A state planning agency forecasts that proposed new fees on Uber, Lyft, and other app-based ride-hailing companies could dramatically increase funding for local transportation improvements, in addition to providing millions of dollars in new revenue to the MBTA and regional transit authorities throughout the state.
Last month, legislators overwhelmingly passed a new transportation bond bill that would significantly raise fees on app-based ride-hailing services, with fees that would range from 40 cents per ride in shared carpool trips to $2.20 for solo rides in "luxury" vehicles.
Additionally, the state would charge a 20 cent "transit access fee" on any ride within the 14 cities and towns around Boston that comprise the core MBTA service area.
$5.9 million of those funds would benefit the MBTA, and another $5.9 million would go to regional transit authorities.
About a quarter of the funding – $13 million – would go to the municipalities where these rides originate, and most of the rest would go into the Commonwealth Transportation Fund, which funds MassDOT as well as transit programs and projects across the entire state.
If ridership on Uber and Lyft rebounds to pre-pandemic levels, the new fee structure could generate twice as much revenue – approximately $112 million a year in total.
The state's existing fee on these services is 20 cents per ride, and the revenue is split evenly between the state and the municipalities where rides originate.
Historically, municipalities have used their share of those fees to finance local transportation improvements, including quick-build safety projects and small transit services.