Surge-taxing Uber as a way relieve urban congestion

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Taxes have all kinds of exemptions for work-related travel and expenses, which do NOT normally cover a daily commute. I’d imagine it would be pretty easy bureaucratically familiar to set up similar exemptions for people using registered vehicles for business purposes, as opposed to commuting/personal travel. Of course, the cost of tax lawyers looking for loopholes is regressive as hell, but still…

Now that the final fare is clearly visible in the app before you book, it’s easy to change your mind and decide not to take an Uber after all, or to share with others.

It’s always clearly showed the fare as far as i know, this is not a recent thing.

Every city where Uber and Lyft have found a foothold has also faced impossible congestion in the city center…

Correlation does not imply causation.


Would they still be considered the ones causing the clog it if they were the only ones there? See also, my (deeply unpopular) solution to delivery vehicle crowding in that very thread (tl;dr: Passenger cars banned, people above ground in buses and bikes; Freight in the subways, with subway stations converted to shipping depots.)


Turnabout is fair play for the Libertarian crowd who constantly justify price-gouging of their slow-AI gods with “it’s simple supply and demand.”


How about surge taxing the tools-execs behind these pump-and-dumps at rates, of , oh, say, 100%?

This is even apparent here in Portland, OR – from 6-9pm, a line of Uber and Lyft vehicles basically shuts down incoming automobile traffic to the airport. It’s absolutely nuts. I wonder how we never saw this kind of phenomenon when there were just taxis? I suppose airports etc. had rules for taxi cabs which are not applicable to Uber?


I would be inclined to say that people using Uber in the first place is a symptom of inadequate public transportation. Sure steps could be taken to stop a large number of Uber drivers from being in the same area, but if public transportation is still bad then the root of the problem is still not being addressed.


Most airports that I have been to (I have never flown into Portland) have separate lanes/areas for taxis, and in some cases the taxi companies have to be registered with the airport. E.g. in Dulles, only “Washington flyer” cabs are allowed. I suspect the Uber and Lyft drivers don’t want to use/aren’t allowed in the taxi lanes, so they end up displacing the friends and family instead.


What if we just made them price their trips what they really cost, without the artificial (and, presumably, finite) subsidization of VC money? Roughly equal to a permanent 2X surge charge, last I saw. The prices will return to that eventually, let’s just make it happen before they’ve managed to drive other systems out of business first like they’re hoping to.

Funny you mention this. Here in Boston just today a story broke abotu a local garage. During massive highway works 20 years ago a couple dozen neighborhood parking spots disappeared, and to make that something the locals would not complain endlessly about a local garage was arranged with, get this, $5/month parking in the middle of Boston, for about 30 cars.

Over the years these permits have changed hands, and --somehow-- lawyers and bankers who work in the area but live nowhere nearby have some of the passes… I wonder how that happened. This is sort of the obverse of what you’re saying, but to the working class folks who cling to that neighborhood, the $800 a month to park there is not possible, but they had a deeded spot that they gave up to get this parking lot perk. And then the wealthy come in and game the system. Fortunately the local parking jig is up, but it took some annoyed locals and an activist press to get it done. Everyone has until the end of the month to prove their car is registered at their local neighborhood address or lose their pass, period.


Why should businesses not have to adhere to the same standards? The problem such as there is one with these sorts of rules is maintaining a level playing field. I don’t see how that’s undermined by businesses actually internalising their negative externality assuming it applies to everyone.

I really dislike the attitude that because people have a job to do they’re free to ignore the rules that are generally applicable. It’s pretty standard around me to have various trade vehicles and taxis blocking pavements and cycle lanes because their clients live in inconvenient places. The client should have to pay the increase in cost to park properly round the corner or whatever.


your point is taken generally, for sure. I don’t like UPS trucks parked in a bike lane or exemptions from environmental or zoning laws. Howerever, if the specific purpose of a congestion tax is to remove completely unnecessary traffic from a downtown area, a plumbers’ truck doesn’t seem like a good target of this effort. A plumber would be hard-pressed to do their work without their truck, whereas private citizens can commute about without passenger cars.

I think these Uber and Lyft drivers are actually in the taxi line. However, I don’t think the airport planners were anticipating the line to extend out so far to the point that they clog the turn-outs for long and short-term parking. It’s crazy.

I’ve noticed more and more airports are designating ridesharing pick-up points away from the taxi line, away from the terminal but usually within walking distance.

I understand the sentiment, but I’m of the opinion that the incentives create the situation, not the other way around. There are loads of ways that plumbers could operate that don’t require them to have trucks. Here’s one that would work around me: parts are delivered by a delivery round, bike trailers to carry tools. It would require some planning but currently we’re all paying the externality of not planning.

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