Uber and Lyft made $44 million since becoming legal in Philadelphia

In their first two months of legal operation in Philadelphia, Uber and Lyft together brought in more than $44 million, according to tax revenue announced by the Philadelphia School District on Thursday.

That comes to an average of about $5.5 million a week for the two ride-hailing app companies from Nov. 4, when Pennsylvania state legislation legalized the industry, to Dec. 31.

The legislation levied a 1.4 percent tax on each ride provided through the companies’ apps, and the School District receives two-thirds of that. The other third goes to the Philadelphia Parking Authority. The district expects the ride-hailing app industry to generate  $2 million to $2.5 million for the city’s schools annually. The district has a budget of about $2.8 billion.

The data released Thursday are the second peek that Philadelphia received into the success of the ride-hailing app services in the city. Last year, from July to September, Uber and Lyft operated under a temporary authorization that then included a 1 percent tax per ride. In that period, the companies jointly reported about $53 million in revenue averaging 59,000 rides a day, according to numbers provided from the PPA. The most recent revenue numbers aren’t broken down by company, but in the July-to-September revenue numbers, Uber accounted for about 80 percent of the total, the PPA reported.

Based on the tax data, business seemed to improve for the ride-hailing companies compared with last summer, when they averaged about $4.8 million a week. The PPA, though, reported that the companies averaged only about 49,000 rides a day in November and December. That period partially included a strike from SEPTA’s city transit workers and the onset of cold weather in the region.

An Uber spokesman responded to the data Thursday by saying business in Philadelphia was “strong and growing.”

On Thursday, the School District announced it received $357,593.31 in tax revenue from the July-to-September period, the first revenue it received from taxes on ride-hailing companies. The district anticipated an additional $411,381.12 in revenue from November and December taxes.

Deciding on the proper breakdown of taxes between the district and PPA was an obstacle to passing legislation legalizing the ride-hailing app industry last year. 

“The first payment to the School District symbolizes a law becoming a reality,” said Maria Donatucci, a state representative who pushed to ensure that the district would benefit from ride-hailing companies’ taxation, “but it’s inside the classroom where it comes to life.”