Pennsylvania's auditor general wants to stop a planned ride-hailing surcharge in Philadelphia before it starts.
The Philadelphia Parking Authority wants to impose a 50-cent fee on each hailed trip that starts within city limits. The money, $10 million or more annually, would go to the school district and monitoring of ride-hailing vehicles, the PPA said.
On Tuesday, Auditor General Eugene DePasquale formally asked the PPA to scrap the surcharge plan.
"Before the PPA imposes new fees on the citizens of Philadelphia, it should provide a full and thorough accounting for where it stands on implementing the 117 recommendations for improvement made in my audits last December," DePasquale said in a news release Tuesday.
That audit found more than $77.9 million in revenue the Philadelphia school district possibly missed out on from 2012 and 2017.
"While the PPA claims the fee will generate additional funds for the city and the School District of Philadelphia, the PPA needs to completely clean up its operations and rebuild some trust with residents before adding fees," he said.
The fees could also unfairly target Uber and Lyft riders, especially minorities, DePasquale said.
"I support the Philadelphia NAACP, Urban League of Philadelphia and the African-American Chamber of Commerce in raising concerns that the PPA’s proposed 50-cent-per-ride fee could have a huge impact on people in communities of color where ridesharing services have increased access to transportation."
PPA executive director Scott Petri disagreed with "the substance" of Pasquale's statement.
"I welcome the chance to review this issue with him as I have with many other businesses, community groups and elected officials," Petri told NBC10. "The 50-cent surcharge proposed for TNC service in Philadelphia will replace the fee now charged by Uber and Lyft."
The PPA plans to continue to push lawmakers to adopt the surcharge.
"It will properly fund the regulation of the additional 20,000 vehicles now in service in Philadelphia and provide well over $10 million to the schools each year," Petri said. "The surcharge is consistent with emerging practices in other major cities and is the most equitable and auditable process available."