From Eric Maloney, Capitol Hill resident and Lyft driver
The Mayor’s proposed tax on rideshare would have a negative impact on our community, riders and drivers alike, and particularly those in minority and lower-income groups.
Thank goodness for the rideshare industry which provides opportunities to earn a living in the form of providing safe, timely, friendly, affordable transportation options for folks to travel between work, social engagements, meetings, and events. After being laid-off from a Fortune 300 corporate management role and making ends meet by working as a roadie and picking up any kind of work via Craigslist and social media outlets, I have been driving for Lyft since February 2016. I have provided more than 8,000 rides and enjoy a 5-star passenger rating. Engaging with passengers is the most rewarding part of Lyfting. It entrenches me in the community via exposure to folks from all walks of life, and I feel a meaningful sense of service. The flexible schedule allows me to pursue other personal and professional endeavors.
As a driver, I am proud of the service I am able to provide. According to the Lyft’s 2019 Economic Impact Report: 44% of Seattle drivers identify with a minority group, compared with 34% of the Seattle population. Thirty percent of Lyft riders do not own or lease a personal vehicle. Fifty percent of non-car owners would be more likely to purchase a vehicle if services like Lyft became unavailable, and 73% of those say Lyft has impacted their decision to not own or lease a personal vehicle. This transportation allows people to get from A-to-B in a safe and accessible manner – whether a ride to work, home from a night out, to the grocery store, healthcare services, and even the emergency room for folks who can’t afford an ambulance, and safe places for those who were escaping traumatic situations.
Thousands of Seattle riders depend upon Lyft on a daily basis. However, riders are incredibly price sensitive, and this tax will result in fewer rides which will reduce drivers’ ability to earn a living. More than 50% of Lyft rides begin or end in low-income areas. I drive the working poor, seven days a week. I am the working poor. I drive my people. It takes a village.
Seattleites rely on the affordable and efficient transportation option that Lyft provides. Ridesharing plays an important role in reducing impaired driving, and providing a reliable transportation option when public transit may not be running or have infrequent service. Please, Mayor Durkan, do not curb the vital ridesharing service in our community by taxing the people who can least afford it.
Eric Maloney has been a Capitol Hill resident for over 15 years. Born and raised in Boston and educated at Syracuse University where he earned a BBA in Transportation & Logistics with a minor in Writing, his professional roles have ranged from Fortune 300 management, owning & operating small business, to Transportation Coordinator on concert tours for artists including Neutral Milk Hotel, Kurtis Blow, Peaches, and Rodrigo y Gabriela; as Music Director at Highway 99 Blues Club, and as a Lyft driver where he also volunteers as a Driver Captain with the company’s Community Affairs and Public Policy teams.