Ridesharing fans will petition Seattle council to reconsider proposed regulations


Christiana Obey, a Peers.org member, brought a petition signed by 1,700 of those in support of ride-sharing to Friday’s City Council meeting. Obey has epilepsy and can’t get a drivers license in Seattle. She said ride-sharing has helped her get around the city far better than what existed before. “This is supposed to be a city that loves technology,” she said.

This morning’s Seattle City Council committee meeting on proposed regulations for the ridesharing industry is shaping up as a showdown between traditional and new economies.

Peers, a group that champions the “sharing economy movement,” says it will deliver a petition representing more than 1,700 electronic signatures during the committee, asking the Seattle City Council to reconsider the regulations contained in a draft ordinance to be discussed in the meeting.

“City Council members are determining how services like Lyft, Sidecar, and UberX will be regulated while taxi companies are lobbying against the very existence of these new services,” the petition reads. “This is a pivotal moment for ridesharing in the Northwest.”

[Follow-up: Here's what happened at Friday's City Council meeting]

The group’s members include people involved with the ridesharing services Lyft and Sidecar, which joined with Uber yesterday in voicing opposition to the draft regulations — including a requirement to obtain a $50,000 annual license to operate as a transportation network company, and have no more than 100 vehicles driving a maximum of 16 hours per week.

The proposed ordinance goes so far as to regulate the size of the “trade dress” associated with the ridesharing services, such as the pink Lyft mustache.

The hearing, starting at 9:30 a.m., can be viewed online here. GeekWire’s Taylor Soper is on the scene and will have coverage as the meeting unfolds.