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Uber and Lyft to tip Massachusetts taxi drivers a nickel per trip

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Add to the list of Massachusetts’ odd laws. The Codfish State already forbids tomatoes in clam chowder, tattooing and body piercing, dueling to the death on Boston Common on Sundays unless the Governor is present, and playing the fiddle in Boston at any time, according to Only in Your State. The latest judiciary jaw-dropper requires that ride-hail companies subsidize taxi companies, according to Reuters.

The new law, just inked by the Massachusetts governor, requires that Uber, Lyft, and other ride-hailing companies pay a 5-cent fee per ride to taxi companies. The taxi share is part of a 20-cent overall fee that also pays a nickel to a state transportation fund and 10 cents to cities and towns.

The law forbids charging riders or drivers, at least directly, so they may not even be aware of the fee. A 20-cent fee per ride, based on Uber and Lyft’s estimated combined 2.5 million rides per month, adds up to $6 million a year, with $1.5 million paid to taxi companies. While riders and drivers on the street may not see the fee, you can count on it being built into pricing.

MassDevelopment, a state agency, will be responsible for how the fee will be collected and spent, according to spokesperson Mark Sternman. Sternman also said that regulations for handling the money have not yet been written. The money is supposed to be used by the taxi companies to adopt “new technologies and advanced service, safety and operational capabilities” and to support workforce development, according to the law.

In Massachusetts, it’s against the law to eat more than three sandwiches at a wake, snore unless your windows are locked, or wear a goatee in public without a license. And now you can’t operate a ride-hail company unless you fund the same industry you’re trying to disrupt.

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