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SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco voters could soon be asked to decide whether to impose a sales tax on every Uber and Lyft ride in the city. If voters agree to it, a more than three percent tax would be added on to each fare.
Whether you like them or not, the ride-shares or TNC's (Transportation Network Companies) as they are officially known to the city, have become an omnipresent part of San Francisco streets. A lot of residents consider them a convenience, but drivers, cyclists and pedestrians have also considered Uber and Lyft a nuisance.
Some elected leaders say if these cars are going to add to traffic congestion, the city should get some money out of it.
"Everyone has to pay their fair share and be part of the solution," said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. Peskin and Mayor London Breed introduced a proposal to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday likely headed to San Francisco's November ballot. Their proposal would tack on a sales tax for ride sharing trips.
"This measure will invest in our public transportation, continue to make our streets safer, and reduce congestion so that people can get around easier," said Mayor Breed in a press release.
The tax on single rides would amount to 3.25%. Pool rides would be 1.5%.
The city estimates the tax could bring in more than $30 million a year in revenue. The money would go toward traffic improvement and pedestrian safety projects.
"At peak AM and PM, over half of the increased congestion is because of Uber and Lyft," said Peskin.
Mayor Breed said both Uber and Lyft actually support the idea.
In a statement to KTVU, Uber said it was, "Pleased to reach an agreement tht will bring dedicated transportation funding to San Francisco."
Some riders said they wouldn't mind paying the tax as long as the money goes toward traffic improvements as intended.
"It would definitely help. There are too many on the road," said Eric Olsen, who was waiting for an Uber near the Embarcadero.
Paxton Mersa, of San Francisco said that working class people shouldn't be burdened proportionally but otherwise, she was in support.
Earlier this week, a state appeals court ruled that Uber must comply with subpoenas by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera for information on drivers traffic violations and service to disabled passengers. Uber had tried to argue the California Public Utilities Commission already received that information in their annual reports.
For the tax proposal to pass, it would take a two-thirds majority of San Francisco voters in November. If voters say yes, the tax would go into effect some time in 2020.