Why Prop D is a dumb idea

Prop D is a small tax on ridesharing rides in San Francisco that varies from 3.25% for a regular ride to 1.5% for a shared or EV ride. Proponents say it would reduce congestion and increase revenue for public transit.

Both ideas are totally wrong. This ballot initiative is a wrecked remnant of political infighting.

I believe in creating new laws that actually accomplish something useful. New laws that are half-baked just gum up the works of government like old legacy software code, or like that overpriced shirt that you really should get rid of because you never wear it but feel guilty for doing it. Voters should reject lazy lawmaking like this. (also, clean up your code and get rid of that shirt)

Brass tacks:

First, this won’t help congestion. Think of the longest ride share you ever took in San Francisco. This tax would add about 78 cents to that ride. An average ride would cost about 50 cents extra. Would 50 cents really change your mind about whether to take a ride? No. Didn’t think so. So much for reduced congestion.

Second, this won’t help public transit much. Yes, it would raise about $32M per year. But consider that the budget is almost $1 billion … that is about 3% of the total budget. Plus, I generally hate pigeon-holed funding like this. There are better ways (see below).

Apparently this flat tire of an idea is the compromise between a higher tax proposed by a supervisor (Aaron Peskin) and Uber and Lyft lobbyist. Win-win for the politicians & lobbyists. Loss for us, the citizens.

Better ideas:

How about putting a big tax (like $2 per mile) for cruising without a passenger in the car? That would put heat on both the companies and the drivers to pull over when waiting for a fare.

How about just a tax per mile? While not as good, at least it would stand a shot at reducing congestion.

Uber and Lyft will hate these ideas of course. But so what. This is our city, not theirs. If they want to put up a stink and fund a big campaign like Juul, let ’em.

Join me in rejecting this stupid ballot initiative. I would love it if someone wanted to put up an alternative next time around.

Sunil Paul is a San Francisco resident with his wife and two kids. He helped invent ridesharing as co-founder and CEO of Sidecar.

Photo credit:  Pablo Guerrero on Unsplash