We’ll know how transportation options like Lyft, Sidecar and UberX will be regulated in Seattle by the end of this month.
The Seattle City Council’s Committee for Taxi, For-hire, and Limousine Regulations originally planned to vote a proposed ordinance today, but instead met Friday to discuss amendments and delayed the vote to Feb. 27.
The most noteworthy change to the ordinance was an approved amendment that removes the 16-hour cap for drivers of “transportation network companies” — startups like Lyft, Sidecar and UberX — if they go through a two-day training course that would allow them to receive a for-hire driver’s license.
The committee passed other minor amendments but did not make a decision on the regulation that would cap the number of UberX, Lyft and Sidecar drivers to 300. That will be decided at the Feb. 27 meeting.
A debate has been raging in the city in recent weeks over whether the new breed of companies like UberX 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.
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. Others, especially those in the taxi and for-hire industry, say 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.
See all of our coverage on the ride sharing issue here, and watch today’s meeting here: