Dear WMATA Board of Directors,
We, the undersigned organizations, are deeply concerned that the Board of Directors of the Washington Metro have planned to subsidize trips on transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft for late night and early morning workers, instead of restoring hours of service during those times.
By subsidizing services like Uber and Lyft, WMATA is effectively subsidizing its competition and undermining its own long-term viability in exchange for short-term monetary savings, at the expense of low-income workers and the environment.
The plan calls for a subsidy of $3 per worker per trip. Even with this subsidy, it will be a financial burden on low-wage workers to use transportation network services instead of Metro.
As an hypothetical example, a worker who commutes from a job in the vicinity of Metro Center to their home near the New Carrolton stop on the Orange Line would pay an off-peak fare of $3.65 for late night Metro service. An Uber trip from the Metro Center to the New Carrolton stop would cost $14.70 per trip even with a pool option, as determined from Uber’s own fare estimation website. If this individual does not have any coworkers commuting in the same direction, they will have to pay $22.48 per ride. A $3 subsidy per ride – or even a $10 subsidy reportedly mentioned by some members of the WMATA Board – will be grossly inadequate for a low-wage worker.