Lyft co-founder to visit Seattle, rally community members as ride-sharing vote looms Friday

lyftseahawksIt’s a big week for those with interest in Seattle’s highly-debated ride-sharing situation.

The City Council’s Committee for Taxi, For-hire, and Limousine Regulations will meet Friday to vote on a draft ordinance that would require ride-sharing companies, among a bevy of other rules, 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 committee last met on Jan. 30 to review the ordinance and hear a presentation from Property Casualty Insurers Association of America representatives to help understand the relationship between insurance coverage and transportation network companies. A final decision from the committee is expected to be made Friday and the Full Council will vote on the matter next week.

Lyft co-founder John Zimmer.

Lyft co-founder John Zimmer.

Peers, a group that champions the “sharing economy movement,” will hold a rally on Wednesday to “save ride-sharing in Seattle.” Lyft co-founder John Zimmer, who told us back in December that the City Council was “overstepping and over-reaching” with its proposed regulations, will be flying up to Seattle from the Bay Area to attend the rally. His company recently announced a Peer-to-Peer Rideshare Insurance Coalition designed to “build a foundation of insurance best practices, policies and information for P2P Ridesharing.”

Along with Zimmer, both Sidecar and UberX also expressed dismay when the regulations were first proposed back in December. These companies, which say that the regulations would make it impossible for them to conduct business in Seattle, are actually operating illegally in the city since they’re not yet regulated by government. This has angered taxi companies, who are regulated and are losing business.

We’ll be covering the action on Friday, so check back on GeekWire to find out what the committee ultimately decides on. Here’s video of the Jan. 30 meeting:

  • Heather Arias

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  • Idontthinkso

    STOP calling it a ride sharing service, FFS! It’s a livery service… car for hire. I won’t argue that it’s innovative, or that it’s better than a traditional taxi, but this narrative that we’re somehow “sharing” or cooperating is utter nonsense.

  • Al Dimond

    We don’t need a “foundation of best practices” around insurance, we need drivers to be covered all the time, for sure. That’s one pretty important part of the proposed regulation. Until it happens, I have no problem with the police straight-up arresting drivers on the services.

  • Dave

    It seems like by its very title, the “Committee for Taxi, For-hire, and Limousine Regulations” is unlikely to give much thought to anything other than increasing regulation.

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