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Monday, July 7, 2014

Seattle City Council Repeals Its Ordinance Regulating Rideshare Companies Like UberX and Lyft

Posted by on Mon, Jul 7, 2014 at 4:26 PM

From Taylor Soper over at GeekWire:

The Seattle City Council today voted 6-3 to repeal an ordinance that capped the number of active UberX, Lyft and Sidecar drivers at 150 each—setting the stage to act on a new set of regulations based on an agreement brokered by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

The council will convene again next Monday to discuss and potentially approve the new agreement, which will legalize the San Francisco-based startups—also known as transportation network companies (TNCs)—while enforcing insurance requirements and adding new taxi licenses.

Three councilmembers—Mike O’Brien, Kshama Sawant, and Nick Licata—voted to hold off on the repeal.

As you'll recall: After the TNCs managed to get enough voter signatures for a referendum on the more restrictive ordinance the council originally passed, Mayor Ed Murray convened a committee that included representatives from the TNC and taxi industries to work this shit out. That committee hashed out a new compromise deal that did not have any caps on the number of TNC drivers, and it's a version of that compromise that the council is set to vote on next Monday. It's an agreement most people seem to be grudgingly happy with. (O'Brien, Sawant, and Licata voted against the repeal because a King County judge is set to rule soon on lawsuit regarding the TNC's referendum.)

Read the rest of Soper's great writeup on today's council meeting right here.


Comments (19) RSS

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TNC's have a ton of money. You wouldn't want to vote against them.
Posted by Sold! on July 7, 2014 at 4:42 PM · Report this
seattlestew 2
Glad to see The Stranger doesn't have a political writer who can cover this local issue in house. I mean, it's not like the publication hasn't had any vocally supportive writers criticizing the taxi dinosaurs and championing the hipster-friendly TNCs... Oh, wait...

Also, it's fun to see The Stranger and Sawant on opposite sides of an issue. And to see The Stranger advocating the liberalization (doesn't mean what you think it does, kids) of the taxi market. Onward to Galt's Gulch Sloggers!

Anyway, The Stranger's Capitol Hill, white, techy hipster audience rejoices. Down with smelly immigrants who can't speak English, create a proper phone app, nor drive black town cars in sleek dark suits as befitting such a hip, stylish city.
Posted by seattlestew on July 7, 2014 at 6:09 PM · Report this

Don't Be Fooled: 5 Traits Uber Shares With Exploitative Old School Capitalist Companies…
Posted by teampedro on July 7, 2014 at 6:50 PM · Report this
"Good News, Everyone!" Seriously?!

I guess neo-exploitative business models are the latest in appster chic.

Don't Be Fooled: 5 Traits Uber Shares With Exploitative Old School Capitalist Companies…
Posted by teampedro on July 7, 2014 at 6:56 PM · Report this
The stranger is only a socialist magazine when it doesn't cost them personally.
Posted by Seattle: world capital of armchair socialists on July 7, 2014 at 7:11 PM · Report this
Clutch those pearls, paid taxi commenter people.

Here's a story: I went in to the office the other day early. I walked up to the Beacon Hill light rail station at 4:30 am (early!) only to realize that the first train doesn't come until 5:30 am. I pulled up Uber and had a Prius with a nice guy (with brown skin, @2 will be happy to hear) in less than 5 minutes! In the old days I would have called Orange, sat on the phone, then waited from 45 to infinity minutes for them to show up, then get grief for not carrying cash! Fun, but I had some stuff to get done at work and I'm grateful that I had a better option available.

Later that day I'm done with work and it's time to go home and get the car to pick my son up from daycare. I walk to the Westlake light rail station and encounter chaos. (he day of the shooting at the Sodo station) I walk upstairs, pull up Uber and have another nice guy (brown skin again!) in a Prius at the curb picking me up in 3 minutes. I make it to pick up my son 5 minutes late but can you imagine the results if I was forced to rely on a cab?
Posted by wasd on July 7, 2014 at 8:22 PM · Report this
"Down with smelly immigrants who can't speak English, create a proper phone app,"

That's funny because every single Uber driver I've used was black and an immigrant. Every single one. Only difference I've noticed is that the ones Uber partners apparently know how to use soap and be polite.
Posted by And work take Visa on July 7, 2014 at 8:35 PM · Report this
LEE. 8
the Yellow Cab app has actually been serving me quite well lately. I even had a fairly long conversation with one of the alleged "smelly immigrants who can't speak English" about how much I prefer it to calling dispatch, being on hold for ten minutes, and then dealing with some rude asshole telling me my cab was 30 minutes away. the driver asked if the GPS locator showing how far away the cab was worked properly; it did.

basically people on both sides of this issue need to chill the fuck out. I can't imagine using Uber or Lyft ever (I always carry cash), but I'm glad that their presence is causing the old school cab companies to make a few much-needed changes.
Posted by LEE. on July 7, 2014 at 8:59 PM · Report this
NaFun 9
So are the TNCs going to be subject to the same fuel efficiency standards as regular cabs?
Posted by NaFun on July 7, 2014 at 9:28 PM · Report this
@9, a NY taxi puts on 80,000 miles a year, on average. The TNCs require vehicles of a certain "newness" but, because the cars aren't commercial vehicles in the same way a taxi is, they don't demand the fuel efficiency meet a certain level.
Posted by ChefJoe on July 7, 2014 at 10:02 PM · Report this
So the City Council just reversed a decision it made in February? That is some leadership.
Posted by Zander on July 7, 2014 at 10:37 PM · Report this
My problem is that UBER isn't cheaper.
Quotes from me (North End) to SeaTac
Uber X $36-48 (that's big swing)
East Side Taxi $42

What is the big deal about Uber?
Posted by caution&daring on July 8, 2014 at 12:08 AM · Report this
The big deal is that the typical taxi experience is so bad people are willing to pay more for a reliable service.
Posted by lolollolol on July 8, 2014 at 5:38 AM · Report this
@12 including tip?
Posted by Uberlicious on July 8, 2014 at 8:17 AM · Report this
Good. If there was any regulation that was needed around Uber/Lyft, it absolutely _wasn't_ a vehicle cap. That detail was there only for the benefit of cab companies, not consumers.
Posted by Morosoph on July 8, 2014 at 8:23 AM · Report this
Neither one includes tip.
And my experience with taxis has been fine. I hear all the stories but in my experience (somewhat limited I guess) I have never had a problem about arrival or dirty cabs or whatever.
My last time with taxi was that on my way back (a week later I went TO SeaTac) I texted him and told him my flight arrival time at SeaTac and he was there, on time, just as he said.
So I am just puzzled about the complaints.
Posted by caution&daring on July 8, 2014 at 8:27 AM · Report this
#15 exactly. The answer to their unregulated status is to regulate them appropriately, where "create an arbitrary cap on service to insure the quality of their product goes down and the are unable to meet demand" doesn't get counted as appropriate, rather than defend a cartel that has fought for decades to insure demand could never be met by fighting new medallions, all while providing incredibly crappy service and exploiting their workers.
Posted by david jw on July 8, 2014 at 10:23 AM · Report this
@16 Uber includes the tip each and every time.
Posted by wasd on July 8, 2014 at 3:04 PM · Report this
I am a driver for Uber, and we do not get the tip that you belive Uber tells you they include in our fare. Also, the cap was related to the hybrid vehicles of UberX, which is a totally different business entity than what the Towncars and SUVs fall under. We are already regulated by Washington state regulations. Without the cap on Uber X vehicles, the company is exploiting the drivers while playing on the emotions of the customers, as exemplified in the comments posted here in support of UberX and smashing the taxis, and independent limousine companies. Without the cap, we drivers are working for slave wages, and if u can picture a ratio of approximately 10 vehicles to every one customer, you cannot argue that this is a fair playing field at all. The redaction of the previous recommended legislation by the City Council is shameful, and shows how money interests control politics even at the local level.

The next time you ride in a Lincoln Town Car, ask the driver if they feel that an unlimited number of cars from uberX is something that they are willing to accept. Ask them how many hours per day they work and how many days per week they work. And then put yourself in those shoes and see if you are willing to do this kind of work. Many of us do not have any choice given the economic situation and the job situation in this country. That is why it is important to realize and recognize what explication is like, when people are vulnerable and money runs politics. Do research, and go to the front lines and speak to the drivers.
Posted by Concernedone on July 8, 2014 at 5:37 PM · Report this

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