Members of Seattle tech community show support for ride-sharing startups

lyftappThe number of Lyft, Sidecar and UberX vehicles may soon be vastly reduced in Seattle if the city’s proposed regulations are approved, and some members of the tech community aren’t too thrilled about it.

The Seattle’s City Council Committee for Taxi, For-hire, and Limousine Regulations is set to vote on an ordinance on Friday that would cap the number of Lyft, Sidecar and UberX drivers at 300 — regulations that those companies say would effectively shut down their businesses.

The Washington Technology Industry Association (WTIA) and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce penned this letter to the City Council’s committee to show their opposition of the proposed regulations.

“Instead of implementing onerous restrictions, the City Council should embrace the broadening landscape of transportation options and support legislation that promotes greater competition, increases transportation choices, and encourages innovative technology companies to locate and thrive here,” the letter reads.

There’s also a petition going around called “Seattle’s Tech Community Supports Ride Share.” It was started by an outreach firm that Lyft hired and has nearly 200 signatures. The WTIA has been encouraging people to sign the petition:

Many members of the Seattle tech community have done the same:

Another petition, signed by local entrepreneurs and investors like Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, Intellectual Ventures co-founder Nathan Myhrvold and Madrona Venture Group’s Greg Gottesman, was sent to the city and took a similar stance:

Rideshare Letter by Matt Driscoll

For more about the proposed regulations, head here.

  • Guest

    The headline should say “Some” just like the first paragraph does. There are plenty of people in the tech community who don’t think companies should be allowed to break the law and then ask for the law to be changed to accommodate their business. Why on earth is the WTIA helping out companies that are neither Washington companies or Technology companies? They should spend their time helping local companies.

    In the long run, we will see that Lyft, Sidecar, Uber, etc. are not tech businesses and they are not scalable businesses. They are actually very similar to the companies they aim to replace. If they can’t survive with regulations intended to promote both safety and fairness, on an even playing field, then they don’t deserve to survive. Seattle and Washington should not give these businesses an unfair advantage simply because they claim to be high-tech companies.

    • Ex-msft

      I’m all for more competition and choices in the transportation business. They should of course be safe. But we should not restrict new transportation to only help the incumbent taxi businesses. We don’t need stupid rules like wait 15 minutes after you call them to give a taxi a chance to pick you up, as some cities have tried. I don’t care if they survive long term or not, we just need to let them try – that’s capitalism.

      • Trav Kidd

        I agree, I only live ten miles from downtown Seattle and an average taxi fare is $30-50, whereas the same from one of the Lyft or Uber providers would typically be $10-20 to provide the same service at a fraction of the price the regular taxi’s cost. It’s a no-brainer. Plus, I’d likely have to wait less time for a Lyft or Uber ride than on a taxi.

    • Guest Guy

      A, the regulations came from the Mesozoic time period and B, most of the regulations were grafted by the cab companies to the politicians to restrict competition, not help the consumer. Additionally, they drive down the wages of the cab drivers too because they reward absolute cheapness. In fact it’s the only way to make any money with a cab, hence the crappy, smelly service.

      Also, the idea that Uber et al aren’t scalable is a joke, right? They’ve already proved that they are.

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    All the cab and for hire fleets in the Seattle area have web sites and computer dispatch. Some even use smart phone apps to dispatch their cabs. Does that make them tech companies too?