Ride-For-Hire Working Group releases recommendations for electric vehicle adoption

State agencies and utilities have a guide to encourage electric vehicle adoption in the ride-hailing, taxi and livery industries, thanks to a set of recommendations developed by the Massachusetts Ride for Hire Electrification Working Group.

The group, composed of representatives from Greater Boston’s ride-hailing, taxi, and livery industries, utilities, municipalities, state agencies, environmental groups and private-sector companies, identified a set of 14 proposals to reduce barriers to electric vehicle use among ride for hire drivers. Five were prioritized for implementation within the next year.

The electrification of the ride for hire sector – comprised of ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft as well as the taxi and livery industries – is part of a broader effort to support the use of less carbon-intensive forms of transportation in the Commonwealth.

“Electrifying the ride-hailing, taxi and livery industries is key to reaching the state’s carbon emissions reduction goals,” said Megan Aki, Clean Energy and Climate Systems Manager at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).

“Over the past several years, Massachusetts has seen a rapid growth of ride-hailing vehicles on the road,” said Alison Felix, MAPC Principal Planner. “Although these numbers dipped during the pandemic, we can expect these vehicles to return over time.”

In 2019, TNCs provided 91.1 million rides – about 12 percent more than 2018 and 41 percent more than 2017. This steady increase took place statewide and in cities and towns of all sizes. A 2018 MAPC report estimated that ride-hailing had a net carbon footprint of nearly 100,000 metric tons.

Many Uber and Lyft drivers are from underserved and low-income communities and the majority of rides start or end in low-income communities. The Working Group took this context into account as proposals were developed, forming strategies that will help low-income drivers and communities gain access to electric vehicles and EV infrastructure.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to bold action to cut pollution from transportation and achieve the Commonwealth’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050,” said Dan Gatti, Director of Clean Transportation Policy for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. “Electrifying vehicles for hire can play an important role in helping Massachusetts reduce emissions from the transportation sector, and we’re pleased to collaborate with our partners across industries and sectors through this working group.”

MAPC served as the primary convener and facilitator for the working group, which met five times between October 2020 and April 2021 to develop and reach a consensus on the recommendations. 

Proposals focused on vehicle incentives, charging infrastructure, dedicated funding sources, and education and driver incentives.

The five recommendations prioritized for implementation in the next year are:

•The Administration should establish an electric vehicle rebate for qualified high-milage fleet operators and drivers under the Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOR-EV) program.

•The Administration should establish an electric vehicle rebate for low- to moderate-income drivers.

•Utilities should support residential charging in the next iteration of their EV Make-Ready program, which offers incentives to offset the costs of installing electric vehicle charging stations.

•Utilities should file proposals for an electric vehicle charging rate structure. (Traditional rate structures feature demand charges, which can be very high for electric vehicle charging stations that are quick and power-intensive.)

•The Administration should collect and publish anonymized and aggregated origin/destination date from ride-for-hire providers to help inform where charging infrastructure should go.

Read the full list of recommendations and learn more at: www.mapc.org/resource-library/ride4hireelectric.

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