Lawmaker wants to make rideshare surge pricing even more expensive…

You’ve probably been there.

It’s 1:45am on a Friday night, the bartender just ran your tab, and you – being the responsible person you are – pause your drunk texting prowl to request a Lyft, only to see that surge pricing is in effect thanks to all the other responsible drunks out there.

Frustrated, you check Uber to see if they’re also under surge pricing. They are, so you go back to Lyft, begrudgingly request your expensive surge pricing ride, and start the seven minute wait for Hassan to arrive in a Ford Escape. You then get back to drunk texting or snapping or whatever it is the kids do today for drunk hookups, hoping you get a solid game plan put together before Hassan picks you up and asks for your destination.

Although you’ve probably been in that situation, Freshman State Rep. Merleyn Bell has probably not. Otherwise, I doubt she would have introduced a ridiculously stupid bill that would increase ride sharing surge prices by 20% in order to fund – get this – “drunk driving prevention programs.”

Check out this reverse logic stupidity via News 9:

A new bill filed in the Oklahoma house would increase prices on ride share customers to fund new programs to end drinking and driving.

House Bill 1143 is asking ride share companies like Uber or Lyft to create a new charge during “surge pricing” hours.

According to the bill’s text, added cost would be a 20 percent increase on surge pricing. Surge pricing normally happens on the weekends or during peak times, like sporting events or concerts.

The added money would then go to create a new revolving fund to be operated by the Department of Public Safety to use for drunk driving prevention programs. The department already has robust programs including the ENDUI program which sets up checkpoints along state roadways to check for impaired drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oklahomans are killed in drunk driving crashes at a rate nearly two to one compared to the national average.

Wow. That’s the best idea I’ve heard since those people from Oklahoma introduced DUI legal insurance! I can’t think of a better way to fund anti-drunk driving programs than to tax the people who are using a ride sharing service to avoid getting a DUI. While Merleyn is at it, maybe we should put a 20% surcharge on fruits and vegetables to help combat the obesity epidemic.

Naturally, Merleyn’s bill has been panned by just about everyone. As a result, she started a Twitter thread to try to justify the absurdity.

HB 1143 is intended to improve public safety by partnering with passenger ride share services to fund impaired driving prevention programs across the state.

The bill creates a revolving fund for the Department of Public Safety to use in implementing programs for the prevention of impaired driving known as the “Ride Share Responsibility Fund.”

All passenger ride share services would be required to divert proceeds collected during peak demand at the rate of 20% to the revolving fund. This is not a tax or a fee on Oklahomans.

Yeah, it’s not a tax or fee on Oklahomans. The state is just going to take 20% of what Uber or Lyft charges during peak demand, and the companies will happily go along with it. They won’t increase their surge pricing by 20% to account for the fee, which would make surge pricing even more expensive, and lead to more drunk drivers on the road. It makes perfect irrational sense, and is a much better idea than making ride share companies lower their surge pricing to keep fewer drunk drivers on the road.

Update: Thanks to angry Ogle Moles, the legislation is dead…

https://twitter.com/bell4norman/status/1093673168743612416

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23 Responses


  1. Most absurd thing ever! Send her straight to the Whitehouse where It’s OK to tweet stupid stuff all the time!


  2. … proving that Republicans are not the sole source of stupid bills in the Oklahoma Legislature.

    Not a tax or fee on Oklahomans? What planet is Ms. Bell from? Of course it has to be “not a tax” in order to squeeze past the SQ 640 requirement that “revenue bills” receive a 75% vote in both legislative houses.

    I love the idea of adding a “not a tax or fee” surcharge to fruit and vegetable purchases to fund anti-obesity programs. Why haven’t we thought of that before?


  3. Stupid proposal.


  4. They will never cease to amaze me….The Oklahoma Standard…sigh


  5. That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard!! And I don’t even drink!!


  6. Let’s fight teen pregnancy by poking holes in condoms!


    1. +1

      This is cutting off the nose to spite the face to me. If you wanted to increase funding for DUI programs, then take it from the fees you collect from current DUI cases. You don’t take money from a company that prevents it and just hope that they won’t make it more expensive to use their services and encourage more drunk driving.


  7. Well put. I had the exact same concerns when I saw it. And people on Facebook are defending it and rationalizing that it will decrease drunk driving. Good work, Oklahomans!


    1. Well Oklahoma doesn’t have any problems with civil forfeiture funds being used to fund law enforcement either. I guess the rationale is the drunks pay for the programs to fight drunk driving. Sheriffs can increase their budgets by increasing civil forfeiture, so of course they will.

      Next thing you know bribes will become legal in certain circumstances, and much of the gullible public will support it. Somehow it will also increase jobs to garner more support.

      Surprised they didn’t just tack on a 20% fee to all Rideshare fares when fares aren’t at “peak”. Raise all fares to peak pricing with the state getting the 20% when the driver/company doesn’t. Money is going for a “good” purpose, so what is the problem?


  8. She’s a Democrat from Norman. It won’t even get out of committee IF it gets a hearing


  9. It makes more sense ( I realize sense has no bearing here), to GIVE riders a 20% discount for taking a Lyft or Urber! That has more of a chance to bring down DUI rates then “funding” would!


  10. Hey…give that representative a break…she is only pushing an issue that was brought to her attention by her constituents/lobbyists/chickn’ Lickn’/activist/pastor/….!


  11. Welcome to oklahoma !!! We’re replaced some stupid republican politicians with stupid democrats…. Yeah!!!!


    1. Stupid knows no political party. The extreme element of both the right and the left are pretty much equally wacky. The politicians then can play the right and the left to their financial benefit.

      Since the politicians convinced the public they need to be well compensated and revered, their primary goal is self preservation. Some may have come in to fix or save the world, but since power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

      The bright spot was the teachers protest at the capitol. It took our elected elite totally by surprise, especially when a majority of the public sided with them. When our legislators went to their playbook to denounce the protestors, claiming the teachers had threatened violence and made death threats, the public realized the BS. The legislature then caved to the will of the people, and planned revenge if those uppity teachers ever try that stunt again. Intimidation only works when you are elected, not when you are a teacher, especially when you get uppity with elected officials.

      The legislature now is considering not letting the public protest at “their house” (the capitol). They have hired additional security, as you never know what those teachers, and out of state agitators are up to these days. There is also now a guard station at the Speaker’s office (he is very important you know). Oh, and the public is never to use some stairwells, as that is only for those elected.

      Yeah, our elected elite are trying another assault on the public, and will create some diversions such as letting you drive 80mph on the turnpike so you don’t see what else they have in mind. While the public might get screwed again in the process, we need to make sure our elected and “the party” are taken care of, as it is the Oklahoma Standard.

      Sadly these politicians aren’t really stupid, clever and shrewd are probably better word choices, and then they play the stupid card if get caught.


  12. But…would legislators be exempt?


  13. At 63 it’s difficult at times to find something positive about gray hair, aching joints, watching Last of the Summer Wine and reminiscing about how good the Stones where in their 3rd Farewell Tour back in the Eighties. But after reading your last post I feel much better! Thanks!


  14. Hey Merleyn, sounds like you need an opponent in 2 years. I voted for you in Nov. After the city council crap & now this, you’re looking like a one termer to me. Better check with Emily before you fire off any more stupid shit.


  15. There should be a 20% surcharge on stupid/vanity/unconstitutional bills.


  16. Add to the fee, remit it to the state, but it’s not a tax. Got it.


  17. If the Idiot really wants to protect and serve her constituents make all rideshare and cabs FREE at last call.


    1. At 2AM drivers don’t drive for free, fuel isn’t free. How do you propose to do this?


  18. Tongue firmly planted in cheek.
    It’s called sarcasm!


  19. This is just the stupidest thing I have ever seen. I hope this stupid woman loses her job. She doesn’t belong in her position representing other human beings.

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