Ride-share giant Uber reportedly spent $2 million in an effort to keep cars out of New York City.
The Financial Times (subscription required) reported Wednesday that Uber dug deeper into its pockets than anyone else to lobby New York lawmakers to support a new congestion charge set to fall into place over the next few years.
Uber's efforts are an acknowledgement that the ride-share firm has dramatically increased traffic in the Big Apple. However, it combines with Uber's bet on new mobility solutions and increased public transit use. The funds generated via the congestion charge are meant to repair the city's crumbling transit system, such as the subway system. Andrew Salzberg, Uber’s head of transportation policy, said the support in New York is part of a "broader strategy."
Data indicates that Uber riders are also dependent on public transportation. Many riders will book an Uber and then take the subway, for example. Less congestion also means riders won't have to wait as long for their ride.
Uber's lobbying efforts included direct contact with lawmakers, television ads, and a $700,000 contribution to an advocacy group called Fix Our Transit. The $2 million total sum follows a previous commitment from Uber in New York City to spend $10 million in the next three years for "sustainable mobility."
Uber rival Lyft also backed the congestion charge and contributed $75,000 to the lobbying campaign, per the report.