Drivers mount three-way battle over ride-share tax




Alex Nachman has been an Uber driver for three years, and Lyft driver for two and a half. He says he nets about $30,000 a year driving part time.

“I enjoy driving to make a supplemental income,” Nachman said.

He worries the mayor’s proposal to add 51 cents per ride to the current ride-share tax will hurt.

“I think the proposal will end up costing me income. Because with any tax that’s hit on companies, they’ll just pass it on to the riders, to the consumers.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan’s “Fare Share” Proposal calls for a guaranteed Seattle minimum wage after expenses, a center to resolve disputes that get drivers kicked off the rideshare apps, but also $52 million for affordable housing near transit and $56 million to finish the downtown streetcar project.

A coalition of drivers, transit and housing advocates support the plan.  

“We all agree on one thing that this is truly an opportunity to ensure that our growth is working for everyone,” said Patience Malaba of the Housing Development Consortium.

Ride-share driver Lata Ahmed explains the need, “We are having a very troubled time of driving full time. We have to work 70-80 hours a week to make a living wage.” 

But their news conference, other drivers interrupted to protest, “The only thing we’re asking for is we need to be included, not excluded,” said a member of the Seattle Rideshare Driver’s association.

They want more of the money to go to social programs that support drivers, “Yes, this is one of the ideas that we’ve been proposing because most of the drivers are spending many hours on the road, they have many issues,” said ride-share driver Ahmed Mumin.

Alex Nachman agrees with the need for dispute resolution but worries it will be dominated by the Teamsters union that many drivers are a part of.

“I’m afraid if teamsters are involved or teamsters make up these boards for dispute resolution that there could be memberships or costs to be reinstated.”

All the ride-share issues will be hashed out soon. The City Council is scheduled to pass the 2020 budget before Thanksgiving.
 





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