Nobody is happy with Seattle’s cap on ride-sharing drivers

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The Seattle City Council meets Thursday to discuss how to regulate companies like Lyft, Sidecar and Uber.

From an Uber general manager to representatives for the taxi industry, it seems no one is happy with Seattle’s decision to cap number of drivers that companies like UberX, SideCar and Lyft can have on the road..

The City Council today voted 5-4 to cap the number of drivers active at any given time on each system to 150. That means Lyft would be allowed 150 drivers at one time during the day or night — same goes for Sidecar and UberX, or any other similar “transportation network company” (TNC) that decides to set up shop in Seattle. If Lyft had 151 drivers on the streets, for example, it would be illegal.

uberxWhile this isn’t quite set in stone yet — the full Council will meet again March 10 and make an official vote — every councilmember participated at today’s committee meeting and the decision isn’t expected to change.

[Follow-up: Seattle city leaders sound off on ride-sharing dilemma — who do you agree with?]

Uber Seattle general manager Brooke Steger was “very disappointed,” with the 150 cap and said it will effectively shut down UberX in Seattle.

“They are doing a huge disservice to the people of Seattle,” she said of the city’s leaders. “They had an opportunity to really change the face of transportation and innovation here in Seattle, and so far, they haven’t done that.”

Dawn Gearhart, who represents the Western Washington Taxicab Operators Association, said the general reaction from her camp was mixed. She was especially concerned with the fact that the council decided not to limit the number of TNC companies.

lyft-pinkWith the current proposals, the city would cap the number of TNC drivers from each company — but there’s no limit on the total number of drivers in general, nor rules for how many companies can exist. Previous drafts of the legislation included such regulations, but the council decided to move away from that today.

“The companies will get to choose who is going to drive,” Gearhart explained. “It’s not based on safety, qualifications or experience as a driver, but simply who the company prefers and who is willing to take the least amount of money. It will just facilitate a race to the bottom.”

Eastside For-Hire manager Samatar Guled shared similar feelings and called the 150 limit a “fake cap” since there could technically be 1,000 TNC drivers out on the road, but from several different companies.

“It’s a tricky, nasty way of making people feel like there’s a cap, but there’s not,” Guled said. “This is bad on so many levels. It’s absolutely worse than a 300 or even 600 cap on the total number of drivers. ”

sidecarnew12Amendeep Singh, a Yellow Cab driver for the past 12 years, said he would have been happy with the council’s original proposal coming into Thursday’s meeting, which limited the number of overall TNC drivers to 300, active or not. But with today’s vote, Singh said it would make it even more difficult for taxi drivers to find passengers.

“Right now, with the 150 cap, there could be an unlimited amount of companies like UberX,” he said. “Uber could make Uber White, Uber Red, Uber Black.”

It’s unclear how exactly the city will monitor how many cars each company has active on its system. For example, if UberX has 151 drivers active, how will the city know?

The council discussed a bevy of other options, from allowing 400 total TNC drivers altogether to removing any sort of cap. Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Kshama Sawant, Nick Licata and Bruce Harrell were in favor of the limit of 400 drivers, but needed one more vote for approval.

Instead, councilmembers Tom Rassmussen, Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Jean Godden and Sally Clark voted for the 150 cap — a decision that’s left nearly everyone scratching their head.

“Our next step is focused on next week to make sure the City Council hears from even more people and realizes that it’s their responsibility and duty to represent the people of Seattle,” said Steger, Uber’s Seattle general manger. “They can ignore me, they can ignore Uber, they can ignore the taxi industry — really, they should be looking to the people and representing them.”

Here’s a statement from Lyft:

By passing an ordinance that does not prioritize public safety or support consumer choice, members of Seattle’s City Council have shown that their sole intent is to eliminate competition and protect existing industries in Seattle. This ordinance will eliminate Lyft in Seattle; local residents who drive for Lyft on their way to work, while they are running errands, or on the weekends to make ends meet will no longer be able to act as drivers, especially when passengers who have chosen to live car-free in Seattle need them most. While safety is often brought up as a reason to apply an old regulatory model to an innovative transportation solution, the truth is that new technology provides an opportunity to increase safety above and beyond what has been done previously. In comparison to existing requirements, Lyft’s $1M commercial liability policy is more than three times the $300,000 requirement of Seattle taxis. Despite today’s disappointing decision, we will continue to stand strong as a community and do everything possible to ensure a path forward that allows ridesharing to thrive in Seattle.

And here’s a statement from the Washington Technology Industry Association:

“This vote goes against everything we stand for in this city. It is decidedly un-Seattle,” said Michael Schutzler, CEO of WTIA. “We boast of our progressive tech scene yet when push comes to shove, the city slams the door in the face of innovators with unreasonable regulations. We hope this vote will be overturned and we can get back to making the lives of Washingtonians easier through technological advancements including ride share services.”

  • http://www.christopherbudd.com Christopher Budd

    It’s not uncommon for young companies to be caught short in the political arena. The fact is that politics isn’t straightforward and it’s a lot easier to build product than influence. For those of us with a political background, that was a major component of the Microsoft anti-trust trial: they didn’t appreciate the situation they were in and what they needed to do.

    These companies are new to the political challenges they’re facing. That they didn’t lose totally is a victory by that measure. They’re making much the same mistakes.

    But like Microsoft (and those after them) they’ll figure out soon that they have to learn and play the game and so they will.

    My prediction is in a few years we’ll see this topic come up again and the resolution will be a different one.

    • Red Russak

      I love your positive approach towards this situation and you make a good point, BUT, I generally find that those in office, for the most part, are very out of touch with the tech community. Is there a way to get some young blood into office to start speaking on our behalf? Why does everybody on the city council have to be so old?

      • guest

        Funny, why dos everybody have to be so old? Simple, old people vote more, and they vote their own kind.

        • frederigoxcz305

          My Uncle Nathaniel recently got a nearly new red Chrysler
          200 Sedan only from working part time off a home pc… find out this here J­u­m­p­9­9­9­.­ℂ­o­m

        • Nagili BaZayin

          I am sure nobody imagined that the socialist would vote against expanding business opportunities!

      • Guest

        Oh, yeah, all young people agree. And all tech people agree. And all people with red hair agree. Age has nothing to do with it — with many council members, it’s experience.

        • Red Russak

          But most of them weren’t voted in by the tech community. They may be experienced, but their vote only represents the older voters. It seems the bigger issue is that our demographic needs to vote and put somebody in office that has experience relevant to our needs and causes. This decision clearly sets Seattle back in the innovation race. Their experience may be what’s slowing down the tech innovations that would make Seattle an even better place to live for the up and coming generations. All they’ve done is make it better for taxi drivers and older voting demographics.

          • Guest

            Do you read comments before you reply? As noted by Rick Gregory below, you’re being ageist. You’re assuming that everyone your age agrees with you and that the age of the council members has something to do with what they think. And you’re also assuming that the tech community is a monolithic block where everybody agrees. Boy, are you wrong! Not only are there opinions all over the map in the tech community, these illegal taxi companies aren’t part of the tech community — there’s almost no tech in their apps, which could easily be cloned. Their innovation is in skirting regulations.

            Can you find real tech innovations that the Seattle City Council is blocking?

          • Lynne

            I’d hate to say that “older voters” have corned the market on closed mindedness. Yep, I’m over 50 and I do support new ideas and services like Lyft. I also understand why there’s a challenge – the cab companies believe this is a threat to their business. I don’t think so. It may be a threat to public transit. Or, if more consumers and drivers become more educated about such services, they may take up one less spot on I-5 during rush hour. How about that?

      • Nope

        So were they older than Steve Jobs? I don’t think it has much to do with old age but rather with an exceptionally skeptical and risk-averse culture specific to Seattle. I have noticed that Seattle is basically controlled by talent-free gate keepers, more so than other comparable communities. Sure, many in power happen to be old farts, but I am not exactly young either and I still often can’t fathom how this city is governed or how tech averse those in power are. It’s not that they don’t get innovation, it’s that they don’t want to get innovation. Welcome to the Seattle freeze I guess.

      • balls187

        Serving in a political office comes from starting off in political service, and working your way up, or by becoming an established member of the community–usually through business. That’s why you find more seasoned individuals in higher office.

        City Council deals with more than just tech related issues.

        The problem isn’t that they’re “out of touch” with tech (this isn’t really even a “tech” issue).

        It’s that these government processes penalizes entrepreneurial and innovative thinking. Having to jump through hoops, waiting for studies, generally dealing with red-tape is all orthogonal thinking to agile business practices.
        The process is also heavily biased towards the incumbents (this case Taxi cab companies), who are able to continue to operate unimpeded while SideCar, Lyft, YaMiCago, and Uber are held back.

        I believe that there should be regulation to prevent TNC and ride share companies from abusing public infrastructure for their own profit, but this debate (I watched an hour or so of it) wasn’t about the public. It was about allowing Taxi drivers to maintain their livelihood. Allow them to “catch up” with more forward thinking companies.

        And that is complete horseshit.

      • Who’s Driving You?

        Love the tech community… but there are bigger issues at hand than just providing people with a cool technology.

      • rick gregory

        Ageism doesn’t become you Red, try to leave the discrimination behind please. We’re on the same side of this issue I think, but I’m 55 – and I know people half my age who are on the other side of the issue.

        We don’t need a council that serves the tech community or any other single community. We need a council that considers what’s best for most people and that doesn’t regulate unless there’s proven need. In this case, there’s theoretical risk (the insurance question is a valid one that I’d like to see GW report on), but is there real, demonstrated harm to Seattleites?

        On the one hand, I feel that freely entered into activities between private citizens shouldn’t be the subject of regulation by default. On the other, what are the realities around insurance issues (say there’s a valid claim against a driver… )? More light, less heat would be nice.

        • Red Russak

          Ageism doesn’t become anybody, but my comment about their age was more an observation of their age being correlated with their lack of knowledge of what the tech community. I’ve had the opportunity to work with most of the Council Members re: StartupSeattle, and found that they heavily rely on us to know what to do vs. being proactive and learning about what we want. Considering we’re not the most proactive bunch either, they end representing the opinions of the older demographics. So again, it’s not ageism…it’s the unfortunate truth that our demographic isn’t being strongly represented. So what’s best for MOST people, isn’t being represented, b/c MOST people aren’t weighing in on the issues….and that’s a BIG PROBLEM. We need to figure out a way to make it easier for us to weigh in. Perhaps there’s a startup out there that does this?

          • rick gregory

            “our demographic”? I’m 55. I’ve also been in tech for 20 years having done two startups and a bunch of other things. Quick, which demo do I belong to?

            Your comment *was* ageist. You didn’t ask for members who were more savvy, you complained about their age. If you wanted to push for people who were more comfortable with tech and open to innovation I’m there with you. If you want to specifically screen on age, not so much (youth has its problems too).

            As for participation, most people *never* weigh in about issues like this because they’re not affected by many of these issues and people only have so much time in the day. After all, unless someone takes a taxi or is actively looking for ways to reduce their car usage, this debate falls below the radar for them.

            Your ‘maybe there’s a startup’ is indicative of a mindset where technology can solve everything, but it can’t. It can address quite a few issues and is generally a force for good but the problem of getting more people to weigh in on things like this isn’t a technology problem but a human one. People who see an issue as irrelevant to them aren’t going to take the time to opine on that issue.

          • KyleKesterson

            When I read Red’s comment, I didn’t read it as age discrimination, but that we just need savvy politicians.

            Younger people are a more generally likely candidate, given that they are growing up with just being integrated with new technologies, using that as the frame of reference to work within, but able to focus on whichever careers they choose. Older folks who are savvy, like yourself, are savvy because of the path of life that you chose to put your energy into, thus removing you from crafting your skill sets as a politician and being able to represent our demo.

          • Red Russak

            Thanks Kyle :-) @rickg:disqus, I can see how my comment seemed ‘ageist’, but semantics aside, you and I belong to the same tech demo, but your age demo is statistically more likely to vote for council members than my age demo. I’m simply saying that I feel under-represented by the council members. They’ve chosen a path that is savvy in politics, and not so savvy in representing our age + tech demo.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      What a crock. These companies are running uninsured and unlicensed all over the country, daring the local authorities to do something about it. The management of UberX/Lyft/Sidecar even have a name for it: “regulatory arbitrage”.

  • guest

    We voted out a mayor for giving us all a snow day. This seems a lot worse.

    • MichaelTompson

      We voted a major to RESIST A CORPORATE GRAB BY CALI venture-capital schemers who support Uber-fraud. This is nothing else that THEFT of city revenue for the advantage of private corporation .

  • yourestalkingme

    The arrogance of Uber is that they think they’re so mighty that the can call people to vote out a City Council member. There are way too many other issues that would be considered when voting for someone in office. Especially to those that don’t ever use Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, Yellow Cab, Orange Cab or any other form of transportation other than their own car or bike. So… good luck trying to get someone voted out of office based on one issue. Plus, whoever you vote in, may feel the same way about your illegal business, may even be dedicated to making you pay for your gross negligence, Uber. Poor poor Uber, boo hoober.

  • http://www.nickwhite.me/ Nick White

    Is Amendeep correct? Can Uber just set up an entity called Uber2 LLC and get around the rule?

    • Taylor Soper

      I believe so. That’s why the taxi industry is mad.

      Here’s how the city defines TNC:

      “Transportation network company” (TNC) means a person or entity licensed under this chapter affiliated with TNC drivers that provides application dispatch services via one unique application dispatch system to connect TNC drivers with passengers for the transport of passengers for compensation and meeting the licensing requirements of Section 6.310.130 and any other requirements under this chapter.

      • MichaelTompson

        Yes. Create hundreds of LLCs and commit fraud hundred
        times. Right?

        I mean really – how more twisted can Uber campaigns
        become? Uber admitted to unethical business tactics. Uber admitted to artificially raising prices at it pleases (uncontrolled
        by regulators). Uber drivers have no commercial
        liability. And here we are yet another gullible Uber-”expansion”
        suggestion. You should research the matter, then you will support regulation of public transportation of which taxi service is an integral part. But Uber is not a taxi, right? Wait – it’s not a taxi on odd days only, today is an even day – so Uber is a taxi service today. I forgot. Really, Taylor – look deeper into this massive fraud and you will be amazed by the amount of lies and deception you will uncover.

  • http://www.nickwhite.me/ Nick White

    Taylor: I do believe you got the last name of Uber’s Seattle GM wrong in paragraph 4 :)

    • Taylor Soper

      Thanks Nick, just fixed.

  • Guest

    Seattle, being a technological city, deserves a technocratic government.

    Out with the Democrats. Out with the socialist. In with the men and women who believe that high-quality technology deserves more than a watery compromise.

    • MichaelTompson

      Technology is NOT AN EXCUSE TO BREAK LAWS.
      Educate self and don’t believe paid advertisements.

      • Guest

        Technology is a motivating factor to help us create and adapt laws. We the technocrats will not base the laws of 2014 on the technology of 1914.

        • MichaelTompson

          “But I am an innovator” said the drug-dealer who started to use underage children for delivery of “merchandise”.

          Yes… he was the first. And he innovated. Nonetheless, he broke the law. I appreciate the fancy words but you – the futurists – as destined to fail because for you technology is the goal, never the means. The goal of public transportation is regulated (as in – controlled), consistent, effective service. Uber fails at the first initial point. I wants us to TRUST IT. It refuses regulations under the guise of technology but I repeat myself…

  • rick gregory

    The council still hasn’t done a good job of articulating more than FUD as a reason for regulating these services *at all*. I don’t have a problem with regulation if there’s a reason for it but I think we need to start from the premise that everything should be allowed and only disallowed or restricted if there’s a demonstrated reason to do so.

    • MichaelTompson

      Another Uber part-timer? How is having no inspections and no commercial liability insurance is a FUD? Uber must be regulated and Seattle is 100% correct regulating it. That the first step in the right direction. People are too naive supporting fraud.

      • rick gregory

        Actually, no. But then you’re obviously someone who doesn’t have any actual arguments so you resort to pathetic ad hominem attacks. Given your multiple lame attempts to discredit people who don’t agree with you, I could call you an astroturfer for the taxi industry but I’d rather dispute your arguments. Oh wait, you don’t have any of those.

        • MichaelTompson

          I have plenty of facts. Problem is Uber-drones prefer to believe Uber-paid ads with smiling actors, instead of using their own minds just a bit longer. The premise of “everything should be allowed” is fine within the framework of legality. Once you cross that line – a drug-dealer becomes a “disruptive innovator” just because he “invented” the use of underage children for drug delivery.
          My message is simple. Don’t break laws – and you will be ok to compete fairly (and perhaps unethically ,like Uber placing false calls to competitors fact to which Uber admitted), but then again – the whole business model is flawed so what’s ethics? Or how about Lyft’s adventures in Minneapolis? City wants to regulate Lyft taxis, Lyft declined (but raised fury in social media circles with mindless drones abound), Minneapolis said “follow our laws or you will be towed” – guess what Lyft did? Spit on the face of the law and launched anyway. Minneapolis towed the cars. So – are we really supporting this punk behavior from supposedly technological company? And why resist regulations so damn hard? Others – Hailo and Flywheel (technology companies too, mind you) follow regulations – no problem – IN FACT THEY WELCOME IT. Ask that question. Research – and then you will know the truth – they make millions avoiding regulations. MILLIONS. These same millions would feed towns and cities that regulate public transportation, but instead – cities get 0, and Uber/Lyft get millions. Fair? I don’t think so. Technology? Maybe be – but don’t let it be an excuse to break laws. I presented here about 1% of all facts about this fraud. But luckily, people and more importantly regulators, awaken. In fact, it was China that booted Uber just two days ago – I’m sure manipulation, lack of ethics, and tendency to break laws had “nothing” to do with it.

          • Slātlantican

            In fact, it was China that booted Uber just two days ago

            Do I correctly understand that you’re attempting to bolster your argument on an economic and safety issue by citing shared cause with the People’s Republic of China? That bastion of capitalism and worker safety?

  • Rick Perry Wannabe

    Let’s see- moron who wants a random $15 an hour wage, damned be the consequences, now we have a city counsel that wants to give the taxi business a “chance to catch up.”
    Meanwhile the rest of the elected fools are breathlessly trying to out San Francisco SF. Nice, I’m made millions living here but I’m just about done, it isn’t worth it anymore.
    I really liked Uber; what a joke.

  • Joe McGrath

    The purpose of government is to exert control, and to determine the outcome of all things, as they are much more suited to do that versus the individual. Given the political color of this county, this outcome should surprise exactly no one.

    • MichaelTompson

      And you prefer creating another monopoly? Uber needs to be regulated like all other taxi companies – nor more nor less.

      • cmorss

        @MichealTompson: Do you work for the cab industry or are affiliated to it in some way? In your comment history it appears you’re ducking into conversations on this all across the country. And saying very much the same anti-ride-sharing rhetoric each time.

        All well and good if you are associated with that industry, but I think for an open and honest discussion such an affiliation should be disclosed.

      • Joe McGrath

        The current structure is a failure. Cab drivers secure the ability to operate a cab and due to the barriers to entry, grow complacent and the customer has very little say or choice in the matter. I dread taking a cab; the driver spends his time on the phone, makes a big deal if I pay by credit card and in general is a dick. You are saying we should restrict something that challenges the cab companies to evolve and adapt? The industry needs that.
        Cab drivers jobs should’t be “secure.” Sorry, my job security is performance. As should theirs be. Otherwise, it isn’t a real job.
        If you are saying Uber and its drivers should be required to show valid vehicle licensing, insurance, and driver licensing at any time requested, then yes, I agree. If you are saying they should have a quota for “fairness”, then you have no idea what you are talking about. There is a massive difference in treating people equally and trying to make people equal.

        • MichaelTompson

          Current structure evolved from the chaotic unregulated structure you seem to calling for again (after decades of proven failure, history be damned). But let’s discuss in detail, shall we. First, what I am saying is that valid driver and vehicle licensing, together with commercial liability insurance, and compliance with local and state regulatory infrastructure is a must. Because if Jim&Tony Cab Inc. has these enforced, and Dick the Uber driver has none of these expenses then this is unfair. Once we establish that – and assuming that equal conditions indeed are created (to which Uber/Lyft aggressively oppose) – let’s move to the second point and that is of driver quality. Jim&Tony local cab company owns a cab, a card reader, a meter, a medical kit, and myriad of other things that are regulated on them. They pay for regulatory fees, inspections, commercial liability insurance, and the list grows every year. They are the small business owners. The manage their expenses and their profits. They are intimately interested in succeeding in their business. Dick the Uber driver has a car, and no other expenses. Let me repeat that again – he has a car and no other expenses. So tell me – who will be a happier puppy in this dis-balance? I assure you – allow me to skip my taxes and my regulatory fees – and I will smile far more that you could ever imagine. The table is tilted and all we seem to be focused at is how “bad” cab drivers have become when in reality Uber drivers get a preferential treatment but yet have the nerve to aggressively refuse any regulation imposed on them. This is not a technology question – these is poor selective enforcement of laws and regulation.

  • Justin

    It seems odd to me that no one in the Uber camp has made a larger deal out of the fact that the taxi drivers are actually sub contractors of actual Taxi license holders. Those who actual hold the city issued license, early driver their cars.

    Also the “Taxi Companies” are not really taxi companies at all. They are dispatching system that charges their users (taxi sub contractors) a weekly flat dispatch fee. Less cabs on the road = less dispatching fees. This is why they don’t want to see an exidous to Uber and Uberx

    Look up a company called Puget Sound Dispatch. Shouldn’t puget sound dispatch be considered a TNC as well? Just with crappier technology.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Actually most cab drivers in KC/Seattle are owner/drivers. Unlike UberX drivers, cab drivers renting their taxi do not have to own a car. Also the taxi is insured, unlike the UberX vehicle.

  • Paul_Owen

    Isn’t the council just protecting its revenue stream from taxi licenses (see right rear of any taxi in town)? Is the revenue really worth the political capital this requires?

    Reach out to your council members today and let them know you appreciate how they are looking out for your best interests, safety and financial well being.

    council@seattle.gov
    sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
    tim.burgess@seattle.gov
    sally.clark@seattle.gov
    jean.godden@seattle.gov
    bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
    nick.licata@seattle.gov
    mike.obrien@seattle.gov
    tom.rasmussen@seattle.gov
    kshama.sawant@seattle.gov

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      What taxi license revenue stream? Taxis pay $650 a year for their license. That just covers the regualtory costs.

    • MichaelTompson

      Uber part-time employee ? Posts like yours are everywhere. This fake social pressure on local government won’t work because your support for a fraud law-breaking company aka Uber Cab is misguided.

      • Who’s Driving You?

        We can’t make any statements on this, but we have certainly seen some “interesting” online behavior….

        • MichaelTompson

          Have you seen the Lyft-sponsored circus show today in Minneapolis? Minneapolis towed Lyft cars away because Lyft refused local regulation and – what would you know – Lyft organized for its “supporters” to gather – and sure as hell – the “supporters” who never heard of Lyft before crawled out of the woodwork in hundreds. A circus show had no better. And that pink absurd mustache on everyone including lady-actors who never drove a cab in their lives? Oh.. that was something special I tell you.

  • Darren G. Austin

    No better example of crony capitalism than the taxi lobby. Public safety and insurance concerns? That’s an insult to our intelligence. This is about the taxi lobby protecting its entrenched business interests and politicians protecting reliable sources of campaign contributions — all regardless of consumer / constituent preferences.

    On the bright side, it’s nice to be able to see such an obvious contrast between the council members who stand against this kind of sanctioned cartelism and those that do not. I can’t wait to vote out Sawant, O’Brien, Harrell. Kudos to Bagshaw, Burgess and Rasmussen! You’ll have my support in the next election.

    Thx @Taylor_Soper:disqus for the live stream yesterday and the great reporting overall. Keep it up!

    • MichaelTompson

      Perhaps think a bit before you post? Taxis are owned by hundreds of small
      businesses while Uber is almost an oligarchy. Just 2 days ago all Cali
      ride-shares – Uber, Lyft and others – met in CLOSED door to decide the next direction of this cartel. Don’t kid yourself – what youw worship – will
      be a Walmart of transportation and that sucking sound? is the local profits that are sucked off your city and your local economy. Good if you live offshore and have Uber bank account numbers, but other than that – not that much.

    • Who’s Driving You?

      Darren, we respect your opinion. The main issue at hand is not the Taxi industry trying to kill these companies, but rather the Taxi industry asking these “rideshare” companies to follow the same rules – whether you think they’re wrong or not, there are laws in place. That’s all. To say Lyft/uberX is not a for-hire taxi is simply incorrect. These drivers are picking up riders, dropping them off, and charging them money (aka a fare). If it talks like a duck, walks like a duck – it’s a duck. You know, so to speak.

      If these companies are completely unregulated, more and more issues will present themselves – especially around insurance and safety. The majority of insurance policies will not insure drivers that use their cars for commercial insurance, and the background checks are laughable compared to the taxi industry.

  • MichaelTompson

    The comments section here is filled with Uber employees pretending to voice “public” opinion. Truth remains – Uber is a fraudster and a law-breaker. It broke law in the past. It’s breaking laws and regulations every day. GOOD JOB for regulators, they 100% did the right thing. I would also impose a permit for every Uber car on the road. Why does taxi cab pay for a permit and right to operate and Uber drivers don’t pay anyone except Uber? This is more than unfair, this is criminal. PAID propaganda by Uber is the classic example how a PRIVATE for-profit company manipulates public opinion through fake and paid for PR campaigns.

    • balls187

      I’m not an uber employee.

      I’m just a gangster I suppose.

      And I want my corners.

      • Frank Nam

        Nice usage of “The Wire” my friend!

    • Scott Sisco

      I don’t work for Uber. I work in IT for social services agency in downtown Seattle. I took Uber for the first time last weekend. I have never had as good of an experience with Orange or Eastside For Hire. The service is just better plain and simple. I suggest you try the service rather than spending your entire day writing on this thread in capital letters.

      • MichaelTompson

        It’s not enough to supposedly be “better plain and simple”, first you must be legit. Then we can start talking about fair competition. Personally, if I could avoid my taxes and expenses – I would definitely smile to strangers for no apparent (to them – the tax payers) reason. I would be popular then, I guess – because people would perceive me as “better plain and simple”.

    • Slaggggg

      Hey tool, why is this space regulated at all? No one is complaining that Uber, Lyft or whatever sucks. Rather they provide a great service. This is America … why do these things need regulation?
      We’ll all just regular peeps like Balls187 sez.
      Who do you work for? The only people I know who favor taxi regulation are taxi peeps.

      • MichaelTompson

        Last I remember America was a land of law. Uber is NOT a great service, It lacks commercial liability insurance. Overcharges passengers. Refuses local government regulations. And uses unethical business tactics to expand. Even Uber “part-time / hobby” drivers beginning to realize that, at the end, they are just contractors who own nothing,

    • Red Russak

      I’m just curious. Who is an Uber employee that’s commenting here?

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    Lyft’s statement continues the pattern of lying about their insurance: “While safety is often brought up as a reason to apply an old regulatory model to an innovative transportation solution, the truth is that new technology provides an opportunity to increase safety above and beyond what has been done previously. In comparison to existing requirements, Lyft’s $1M commercial liability policy is more than three times the $300,000 requirement of Seattle taxis”

    Increasing safety? Most of the vehicles being dispatched by Lyft/Sidecar/UberX are covered by invalid non-commercial policies. This creates the “insurance gap” that was demonstrated in the San Francisco fatality accident on New Year’s eve involving an UberX driver.

    http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2014/01/20/ride-sharing-insurance-lyft-uberx-sidecar/

    • Who’s Driving You?

      Really well said. There’s no need to yell and fight, like some other companies (cough cough). All we need to do is present the facts and ask the right questions.

  • MichaelTompson

    Taylor, you should really fix your title to:
    “SEATLLE REGULATORS MADE THE RIGHT DECISION TO REGULATE UBER FRAUD”. How about reporting truth and facts rather than paid Uber PR?

    • Taylor Soper

      Thanks for the comment, Michael. Based on the people I spoke with after Thursday’s meeting — taxi drivers, UberX drivers, taxi representatives, for-hire representatives, UberX representatives — everybody expressed great disappointment with the decision.

      • MichaelTompson

        Why city defending its own interests in the face of attempted corporate power grab would be a disappointment? We should rejoice because our dollars will stay in local economy and won’t end up in offshore oligarch bank account. We should thank regulators for doing their jobs right because prices will remain fixes / predictable with no artificial “surges”. I have no problem with other “disruptive” but law-obeying apps such as Hailo or Flywheel… Innovation is there but so is the law assuring fair competition – and when ride-sharers met in Cali in closed doors just 2 days ago – that’s a cartel-like behavior. Search it. Hopefully unlike Uber rape cases that closed door meeting is still Google-searchable.

    • Joseph

      How is this article not reporting truth? Please enlighten us all.

      • MichaelTompson

        There are people, not drones, who are quite happy with city defending its interests in the face of corporate power grab.

    • balls187

      Eh,lay off. We get it, you clearly don’t like Uber. But Taylor did a nice job reporting on this story.

      • MichaelTompson

        Got anything else, balls187 ? It’s a rhetorical. Please don’t answer.

        • balls187

          Bend over sweet cheek’s, and I’ll be happy to show you what else I got.

    • Slaggggg

      Get off it tool. It’s a good story. Just because the headline doesn’t match your particular world view doesn’t let you tell them whta to write. And who would put a headline in all caps??

      • MichaelTompson

        It’s a good story for Uber because it presents correct just decision in a regressive way, which it isn’t of course.

      • rick gregory

        Click on his profile and look at his social media accounts. Every public post is about some marketing thing. I smell astroturf.

  • coolpimpdaddy69

    While this resolution doesn’t make much sense, I do find it funny that the two sides seem to be “regulate TNCs” and “don’t regulate TNCs.” If the tech crowd wants a less hypocritical stance, they should be fighting to deregulate the taxis as well. Taxis currently have a cap, and must be insured whether there’s a passenger in them or not. Why not lift those regulations as well?

    • Economics FTW

      I think most every one in the tech community would be happy with lifting regulations for taxi drivers too. In fact, I wrote such in a letter to the council.

      But I don’t think taxi drivers want this. They are already “in” – spent money for a medallion, and their best interest is to keep away competition, including more taxi drivers. This is one of the perverse side effects of all unions, once you get in, your incentive is to keep others out to maintain high wages.

      • rick gregory

        Um… the taxi drivers by and large do NOT get high wages. The companies buy the endorsements and rent the cabs/right to drive to the drivers.

        To the point about deregulating taxis, I’m all for that. IN fact, I’d like an environment where anyone can set themselves up as a driver if have the right insurance, cars are safe and they pass a background check. While no individual would really be competition for the TNCs or taxi companies I think the environment should be permissive – if I want to jump through the hoops and do this as a business, I should be able to even if it’s just me.

    • cmorss

      I’m very pro-progress on this, which to me, means figuring out a way to have UberX/Lyft/etc be allowed to grow as much as the demand for cars dictates. All the while making sure they are insured correctly, the cars are safe and the drivers are qualified. That will surely take regulation of some sort. And that the Taxis should fall under those same regulations.

      I don’t see a need to cap anything if the above conditions are meet by all involved. Let the market decide which service(s) should win out. Honestly, I feel bad for the taxi drivers, but not all business models will survive for all time. Heck, I bet you can’t find some to shoe your horse in downtown Seattle anymore.

  • Slaggggg

    Does UberX have more than 150 drivers active at a time? Whenever I use the app and see the little free cars driving around the map, I never see more than 150 in Seattle.

  • http://startedinseattle.com/ ChetCrunch

    I love how explosive this conversation is. As much as I love TNC’s, and would love to see a no-cap policy at some point, this has been the best marketing campaign for any company, (better yet industry), ever. The ride sharing companies are essentially at war with the city, and consumers are standing on the front lines. In turn, we may as well be chasing cab drivers out of the city with rakes and shovels, which is the opposite of what the city is fighting for here. What a mess.

    @Taylor_Soper:disqus, amazing coverage throughout here.

  • Shiggity Shwa

    taxi drivers suck. they’re rude pricks who don’t know how to fucking drive. go back to Pakistan you arrogant fucks.

  • R G F

    The issue is… that the city, the airports, the state, and the FED TCP numbers all make money off the cabs and limos, and they don’t make squat off of us rideshare drivers. Has nothing to do with anything else, but MONEY, just like everything else these days!

  • Boner

    All you Lyft and Uber drivers need to do is to pony up and buy some commercial insurance and you can be pretend cabs….just like real cabs. I’ve driven cab off and on for over 23 years. It’s not all that you’re cracking it up to be, but if you want to be cabbies, at least act like it and pay for insurance. Your personal policy is garbage if you have an accident and Lyft/Uber know it.

  • orbitly

    So, which council members voted for it and which voted against it?