Seattle delays vote on ride-sharing cap, council member says they need time to ‘get the decision right’

lyft66A Seattle City Council committee will delay a scheduled vote on one of the key elements in proposed regulations for ride-sharing companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.

In a message on Facebook, council member Sally Clark — Chair of the Committee for Taxi, For-hire, and Limousine Regulations — wrote:

Not that anyone is paying attention to this issue, but just in case you’re interested — we’ll discuss cap vs. no cap on Lyft & UberX cars in tomorrow’s committee, but not call for a vote. More time to get the decision right. Not that anyone’s tracking this.

In a follow-up comment, Clark said that they will likely vote on other amendments related to ride-sharing at the committee meeting on Friday, but will not vote on the issue of limiting the total number of personal vehicle drivers. (Editor’s note: This post has been updated to clarify what will be happening at Friday’s meeting).

A debate has been raging in the city in recent weeks over whether the new breed of companies like Uber and Lyft — which allow customers to request a ride via a smartphone and automatically pay for fares without using cash — should be able to operate in the city.

The City Council is currently investigating a plan to institute caps on the number of ride-sharing drivers that would be able to operate in the city, potentially reducing the reach of services like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar.

Many in the tech industry have argued that the ride-sharing companies offer a more innovative and convenient alternative to traditional taxi cabs, and that the city should not regulate them. On the flip side, others have argued that the new services should be regulated or curtailed, and that they should not get a free pass on regulations simply because they utilize new methods for attracting riders.

Previously on GeekWireWith ride-sharing regulations, Lyft president says Seattle’s leaders will look bad on national stage

See all of our coverage on the ride sharing issue here.

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

    Politico speak translation: We picked a fight with these services because they were disrupting the established working relationship we had with taxi services. Now we’ve found we’ve bit off more than we can chew. So we need time to figure out WTF to do next to dig ourselves out of this hole.

    • yourestalkingme

      The city stands to lose a lot of revenue by killing the taxi’s altogether. The fess that the taxi’s pay to the cities pays for maintenance of roads, public transit and other infrastructures. These illegal taxi’s will kill off the competition and put cities into a deficit because they don’t pay the same fees as taxi’s and for hires do. Regulating these companies isn’t just about the pay check for the city council, it’s about keeping Seattle a functioning place. Good luck to these illegal taxi’s paying nothing and running on streets that never get fixed because there’s no money in the budget. There’s more at stake than convenience for self entitled people that like shiny new toys. Regulate all or regulate none. Call for deregulation and see where that takes the city.

      • Nom Tacos

        Soooo, how long have you been a cab driver?

        Also putting them out of business means more unemployed people. So no buying gas a the insane Seattle gas prices with taxes, no buying meals on breaks. Basically all the revenue they generate for operating in the city helps pay for things too. The taxis are just all butthurt that someone came along with a new idea to provide a service in a more efficient manor. Booowoo, the free market is killing me, imma cry to the city council, boowoo, Uber can get pick up people in under 15 minutes where as us Yellow cabs take up to 45 minutes. What do you mean with Uber/Lyft has the ability to handle more than 2 people at once? That’s craziness. People are willing to pay a few bucks more for their ride to show up faster? What is this nonsense? PLEASE SOMEONE TELL ME WHY PEOPLE NO WANT OUR CABS, WHY????!!?!?!?!

        It’s like when the federal government said “Hey we are going to pump money into GM so they don’t go out of business” and later tell the American people they are going to take a 10 billion dollar bath on the bonds because no one wants GM products…

        Or is it more like whipping you butt before the poop, I don’t know, I am not a philosopher.

        • Ray Schwartz

          This is about unions, unions, unions

          • yourestalkingme

            At the last council meeting a draft for unionizing UberX, Lyft and Sidecar was being passed around. Would be incredible to have these people being protected from these companies that are here to exploit them and their cars.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Waht union? Cab drivers are independent contrctors and can’t unionize.

        • yourestalkingme

          Everything you just said, completely idiotic and so short sighted. I’m going to try my best to make sense of it.

          Your argument is that the city will gain money from having these TNC drivers on the road because they will be buying more gas (petroleum companies profit most, taxes that the city collects from those sales are not as substantial as those collected from Cab taxes). They’ll be buying more lunch and food (still same thing, small fraction of taxes goes to the city and that tax is used for other things that the city pays for, not the same tax goes to the same place in the city). Do some research and then come back to argue those points again, please.

          No one is denying that Taxis have a very very bad reputation, most well deserved as their cars are definitely not in the best shape at times, stink really bad and sometimes have some really awful and rude drivers. I have had a couple of rude drivers and I have also had some amazing, genuine sweet taxi drivers. To lump them all into the same category isn’t right just because it’s popular opinion.

          The innovation of these companies is AWESOME. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT! I LOVE IT!

          The problem again is this, please read it carefully…

          These TNC’s are not going to provide the city with the revenue that the city generates from the fees and taxes imposed on Taxi companies and drivers. The regulations, the rules. Those funds that are generated go to repairing roads that TNC’s, personal drivers and Taxi drivers use. That’s how things work, the money has to come from somewhere. Taxes from certain businesses pay for certain things in our city. A huge chunk of funds will be lost if we decide to kill off the taxi’s completely. Something and someone will have to replace that revenue, UberX, Lyft and Sidecar don’t want to be under those same regulations because they know it will dip into the millions that they will milk out of our local economy. These are not local companies and they do not care about Seattle the same way you and I do. If Taxis went away forever, not many people would cry. If UberX, Lyft and Sidecar replaced taxi’s and it was more efficient…who could cry about that? That’s the way it goes. Business’s go out of business, the Taxi business could see their fate not too far in the distance. The fate of the revenue generated will be passed onto us tax payers somehow, someway. So…let the new entrants pay those fees and those taxes so that we don’t foot the bill so that Kalanick, Zimmerman and Paul can put another million in their pocket by stealing from ours.

          The drivers of these companies are being duped. They’re being taken advantage of and they hold no power whatsoever. The proposed regulations had these TNC drivers in mind to help them out by saying to these companies “your drivers should get TNC permits and the cap will enable them to hold the power over the TNCs to choose which company they’d prefer to drive for” Yea, the caps aren’t the most ideal for these people, but they’re a small step in the right direction to wheeling in these companies that are taking advantage of all involved.

          Here’s a scenario for you. I’m going to go into Lost Lake Cafe and copy all of their food items. Create an app that you can then order the exact same food from…I’ll have my friends cook the food (I’m terrible at cooking, so it would fail if I did the cooking)…then I’ll deliver that food to you at a fraction of the cost that Lost Lake Cafe is charging. I’m not going to go get a food handlers permit, I’m not going to be inspected by the health department. If you get sick, you will have agreed to my terms and conditions to not hold my me liable as I am just a company connecting cooks with hungry people that like apps and innovation. I wonder how Lost Lake would feel about me skirting the rules to provide food to people when they’ve gone through the proper channels to be a business and provide food to people. It’s innovation, so they better stand behind it, or else they’re a restaurant monopoly.

          I’m not a cab driver. But I am someone that uses cabs and understands that a whole sector of people trying to make a living and have been playing by the rules because they don’t have strong English speaking skills and millions of venture capitalists to back them up to break all the rules they want. If there’s no caps for TNC’s, there should be no caps for Taxis and really let the market sort it out.

          Again, someone has to pay those taxes though. I don’t want to be the one paying them. Do you?

    • pitbullstew

      guess you did not watch the televised meeting huh? perhaps ypu should. this council gets it, they repeatedly spoke of a level playing field and they are being thoughtful and deliberative.

      And oh? BTW? Have look at this breaking news?

      ‘Uber admits its scrutiny of drivers’ pasts missed convictions’ chicago Tribune

      http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/ct-rideshare-background-checks-met-20140214,0,3099755.story

  • Ray Schwartz

    I have ridden in both Lyft and Cabs nationwide – give me a Lyft driver any day.

  • pitbullstew

    Wouldnt it be great if we didnt get run over today?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEJugkWG47g

  • Joshua Aaron

    Evolve or die. Darwinism extends to economics as well. Let’s not play god.