Seattle will issue cease-and-desist to ride-sharing companies if deal can’t be reached

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray.

Seattle will issue a ceast-and-desist letter to app-based transportation startups like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar if an agreement between the companies, taxi drivers and city leaders cannot be made by the end of May.

In an interview with GeekWire today, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said that he will spend the next 45 days working with stakeholders to come up with regulations that everybody can agree upon.

On Thursday, a coalition group that received more than $400,000 in donations from UberX and Lyft submitted enough signatures to suspend a newly-passed ordinance regulating the transportation companies, which utilize smartphone apps and everyday drivers to shuttle people around town. While the new laws — which would have gone into effect this month — allowed the companies to legally operate in Seattle, they also placed a cap on active drivers at 150 per company.

If a compromise is reached during the negotiation process, the City Council could repeal the original ordinance it approved last month and then work together on a new set of regulations. If that happens, the referendum would not appear on a ballot later this year.

However, if no agreement is reached, the referendum would show up either on the August or November ballot for public vote. In this case, Murray said he’ll issue a cease-and-desist to stop companies like UberX and Lyft from operating illegally in the city without regulation.

Whether or not these companies stop conducting business in Seattle remains up in the air. City leaders in Los Angeles issued a a similar cease-and-desist this past June, but the startups did not stop operation.

uberxMurray has been against any sort of cap all along, partly because he thinks it would be extremely complicated to enforce and monitor a regulation like that.

But he’s also concerned about providing a level playing field for taxi drivers, who have spent the last few decades “buying into a highly-regulated monopoly that’s now at risk of going away,” as Murray put it.

“We need strong insurance requirements, a level of deregulation for the taxi industry that would make them more competitive, and caps that would be acceptable to all parties,” Murray said.

He also made it clear that he’d much rather get something done in the next 45 days than for this to go to a public vote later in the year.

“I worry that with a referendum, a lot of people will spend a lot of money that could be spent better on their own businesses,” he said. “It will result in folks automatically losing their jobs and livelihood in an East African community — the largest immigrant group in Seattle — that is already deeply struggling financially and with a series of other issues.”

Here’s more from our conversation this afternoon:

Lyft supporters gather at a City Hall rally in February.

Lyft supporters gather at a City Hall rally in February.

GeekWire: Why will you order a cease-and-desist if the agreement isn’t reached?

Murray: “It’s about insurance. The original ordinance at least made the companies legal and gave a regulatory framework. When they filed the referendum, they became illegal.

I have a responsibility to enforce the law, even if I don’t like the law. I do think if we enforce the law on taxicabs, we’re going to have to enforce the laws on TNCs. Quite honestly, I think it would be irresponsible of me not to because if some tragedy were to happen and we had not dealt with the issue of insurance, I think that would be an unfortunate situation for the TNCs and for the city.”

GeekWire: Why didn’t you order a cease-and-desist when you took office in January?

Murray: “My predecessor during all of last year did not use that mechanism. When I took office, I asked the Council to let me work on this and send something down to them, but they were in the middle of it and had been working on it for a year. So I chose to wait. I wasn’t happy, but I understood I was coming in at the tail end of it.

I signed [the ordinance] to show good faith with them, and now I’m trying to find a way to bring these folks together to get a bill that I can get through Council that will address some of these issues. I don’t know if it will work, we’ll see.”

Salah Mohamed, a 14-year Seattle taxi veteran, says he doesn’t mind competition from companies like Uber but wants a level-playing field for all transportation providers. Photo courtesy of Mohamed.

Salah Mohamed, a 14-year Seattle taxi veteran, says he doesn’t mind competition from companies like Uber but wants a level-playing field for all transportation providers. Photo courtesy of Mohamed.

GeekWire: Are you more concerned about innovation, or protecting the taxi industry?

Murray: “That’s a fair question. Innovation is going to happen and I want it to happen — it’s a very important issue. The City built a system that was so regulated that it didn’t allow for innovation, so having an innovative way for people to move around so they don’t have to drive around in their own cars is great.

At the same time, we are dealing with a community of immigrants who are new Americans who are financially and economically suffering. I do think that we owe it to them to find a way for them to be able to transition to this new world.

I get innovation. I mean, I’m a book nut and there used to be bookstores in every neighborhood in Seattle for me to wander around in. That’s just not true anymore. Their used to be liquor stores controlled by state, and those jobs are all gone now because the world changed. I get that, but I want to try to do this in a way that perhaps creates a more level playing field, and allows the taxi industry to be more competitive and more innovative.”

GeekWire: Is it possible that you’ll come up with an agreement that makes everybody happy?

Murray: “You’re never going to make everyone happy, not in my business. But we want to find a way where most people can see something in a plan to move forward so we can pass another piece of legislation and not have the referendum proceed. Otherwise, if we can’t come to an agreement, the referendum will proceed, enforcement will start, and the taxis and TNCs will have to spend oodles of money on a campaign.”

GeekWire: What is most important to you right now? Safety? Caps?

Murray: “I think that the taxis rightfully feel that they bought into a highly regulated monopoly and paid a lot of money to do this. They are almost entirely from East Africa and they feel like their livelihood is going away. I think they’re right.

I think that on the other side of it, the issue of caps is pretty unacceptable to the TNCs. The issue of them not being regulated at all is pretty upsetting to taxis, since they are highly regulated.

The issue of insurance is a major one for everybody involved and it is my No. 1 concern. The ability to make sure there is a level of insurance and level of certification of both the driver and the car — those are key things for me that have to be solved.”

  • Guest

    We’ll get a deal or a new mayor out of this. Good news all around!

    • sol

      The public officials of Seattle like almost
      every other city in the country and Europe are telling them that these so called ride sharing people are illegal. Every
      city is telling them that they are illegal. Brussels, and Berlin have
      got them court bans just recently. So look it up before blaming this or that
      public official.

    • John Kane

      So you think it’s good that a single-issue politics driven by hedge fund money from outside of Seattle is a good thing? If a candidate doesn’t agree with you on 100% of the issues, you want him immediately removed? And you don’t mind that the whole process is driven by hedge fund money that isn’t even based in the Seattle area? You seriously want a mayor– who may be competent and good on other issues but simply doesn’t agree with you on this one issue– removed over Uber and Lyft? Even if he’s good for the City of Seattle?

      You clearly haven’t thought very deeply about politics, money, and single issue campaigns. Try thinking harder.

      • TySpace

        “…driven by hedge fund money from outside of Seattle…”

        You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

        1) It’s venture capital money, very different from a hedge fund. Take a finance class.

        2) If we want to get technical on where the money is coming from, Jeff Bezos is a large investor in Uber.

        • ClaimsAdjuster

          So is Goldman-Sachs. That is a hedge fund. Horowitz is another.

        • Kary

          I believe Google is in there too.

      • artemis11

        Yes! Exactly the same reason I voted “No” on Prop 1. San Francisco-based Hedge fund tycoon Chris Hansen donated money to the “Yes” campaign.

  • http://timandjeni.com/ Timothy Ellis

    Hah, where’s that commenter who has been popping into seemingly every single comment thread on here, defending Uber/Lyft by essentially claiming that it must be legal because the city hasn’t taken any legal action against them?

    So much for that argument.

    • Kary

      Tim, in another story one of the comments mentioned RCW 46.72.010 et.seq. It appears that “for-hire” vehicle statute is applicable and that there are possibly even criminal implications. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=46.72

      But hey, they have a smartphone app. It must be legal, right?

      • John Kane

        Hey, all the young kids have smart phones, so if my cab driver has an app on a smart phone, it must be an “innovation.” :)

  • pitbullstew

    So tell me Mr Mayor how does one sit down and negotiate with the TNC’s who historically ignore cease and desist orders everywhere already?

    They who simply would not release any data to the committee for over a year citing ‘proprietary’ concerns as what?

    Every other service provider that the city regulates that is required to have proof of insurance for, right down to the cop on the beat when he sez drivers license registration and insurance when he cites some one for a driving infraction…beat it pal you cant have that,

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

    I am with Uber and we dont have to provide that, its proprietary ya konw?

    Calling taxi companies a monolpoly? huh? It is a highly regulated niche market they have no regulatory control over. Sounds like you have been drinking the TNC koolaid.

    You’re not fooling us, Uber! 8 reasons why the “sharing economy” is all about corporate greed

    Or, how to make money for Silicon Valley venture capitalists while pretending to espouse progressive idealsANDREW LEONARD

    http://www.salon.com/2014/02/17/youre_not_fooling_us_uber_8_reasons_why_the_sharing_economy_is_all_about_corporate_greed/

  • pitbullstew

    maybe the mayor might want to strenuously object?

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

  • http://Facebook.com/justus.aguy Just Aguy

    I am a Chicago cabbie and I do UberTaxi.

    Do any Settleites ever wonder why the LEGAL & REGULATED UberTaxi service option WASN’T offered in Seattle.UberTaxi is only available in Chicago, Boston, SF, DC & NYC. Uber HAS NOT offered UberTaxi in ANY of the ~30 NEW US Markets it’s entered in the last 1 year since it published Uber Policy Whitepaper http://bit.ly/PBImlf and started the ILLEGAL & UNREGULATED UberX service.

    UberFraud: Notice that the Mayor is saying that the No.1 concern is appropriate insurance. ANY & ALL claims (riders, drivers, other drivers/cars, pedestrians, etc) involving Ride-sharing are FIRST filed with the driver’s PERSONAL CAR INSURANCE that ALWAYS EXCLUDES RIDE-SHARING. This is because the the Ride-sharers designate their drivers’ insr. is the PRIMARY insr, & the insr that Uber/Lyft touts as covering the riders/drivers etc. is SECONDARY! In doing so they are is inducing and perpetuating mass INSURANCE FRAUD http://bit.ly/1l1uGcZ.

    This insurance setup is THE SAME with Uberx, Lyft & SideCar.

    This is the latest & most comprehensive look at Ride-sharing Insurance: CA Dept of Insr Commissioner’s Report to CPUC http://bit.ly/1hCEq9Q

    This is my homage to #Ride-sharing: A Peek Inside the UberWONDERFUL World http://on.fb.me/1jzrfem & I Tweet at @chi1cabby

    • John Kane

      There is no such thing as “UberTaxi.” You’re a cab driver who uses Uber to pick up fares.

      • http://Facebook.com/justus.aguy Just Aguy

        John are you really that dense? I spent over half an hour on Twitter trying to explain UberTaxi to you! Please go to Uber.com On the page you’ll see under “Options” UberTaxi listed.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Lyft and Uber adapt their tactics to different localities . In more gullible cities Lyft still maintains that it is a “rideshare” service, not a taxi, and that the compensation the driver receives is a “donation”.
      In Arizona and Colorado Uber and Lyft are trying to get state insurance laws changed so that their private auto insurance policyholders will pay for their accidents. Uber and Lyft get cheap insurance and John Q Public gets higher auto insurance rates.

  • sol

    uber and its types are illegal businesses. why do the legal taxis have to negotiate, or compete with illegal businesses. If you illegal, the police and authorities should be the only ones dealing with you.

  • Question__Mark

    Almost half a million contributed to collect 36,000 signatures. Don’t you love the smell of newly laid astroturf?

  • No Go

    Now governments are stepping in to make food sharing illegal. Yes, we should definitely not let the free market work and we should encourage more intervention and regulation, it is helping! http://reason.com/archives/2014/04/19/bans-on-sharing-food-with-homeless-persi

    • rick gregory

      Poor example. We do, in fact, regulate who can serve food to the public as a business. Heck we even inspect them.

      The entire difference here is ‘… as a business.’ You and I can offer a ride to our friends, neighbors or even someone we don’t know just as we’re free to cook them dinner. What we can’t do is to open a restaurant and serve food to the public without obeying the relevant laws. I’ll leave the last bit of the analogy to you.

    • pitbullstew

      I grew up in Santa Monica California, we are called the Peoples Republic of Santa Monica, The Socialist Republic of Santa Monica, all because the city and city attorney set up food lines for the homless population because it was our view that homelessness is not a crime.

      And yes, the food that was distributed was inspected, regulated and governed by the Health Department and the applicable codes of safe food handling, preparation and storage.

      The “Free Market” had nothing to do with it, so stop with the uber/Lyft talking points, nothing is free except free food that is safe.

    • yes, i went there

      Zyklon B was “innovative,” too. Stop using innovation as the excuse for all bad behavior.

  • rick gregory

    I really wish the Council would have not bothered with the caps. It’s a distracting, silly thing. The real question should be ‘how should Seattle regulate for hire ride services, including the existing taxis?’

    What the mayor should do is to wipe the slate clean and say “Ok, we’re going to start with a blank slate, no regulations. What *are* the necessary regulations for businesses who want to provide rides to the public? I can think of a few areas:

    1) Safety of both the rider and the public at large. So, background check of the driver, inspection of the vehicle for safety issues (bald tires, bad brakes, etc).

    2) Insurance. If a driver causes an accident and is clearly at fault, the injured party should not have to be out anything… the company’s insurance should pick this up (alternatively, the driver could be required to carry insurance that covers ridesharing).

    3) Potentially, price transparency to forestall fraud (so people know what they’re paying when they get in).

    That’s it. Alter the regs to cover all ride sharing companies including taxis like this. If taxis want to compete, great, let them (i.e. don’t regulate their prices but not TNCs prices). All government should really care about here is that the public isn’t at risk of harm or (in the case of accidents), liability.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      The Mayor has no authority “to wipe the slate clean”.

      • rick gregory

        I know, but that’s what he should propose. Obviously he can’t do it unilaterally.

        • merline

          The insurance issue is really problematic. These drivers likely cannot afford commercial insurance. In almost every instance, their personal insurance will not cover them in an accident if the company learns that they are doing this type of work – even an off-duty accident.

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    It is not clear what Uber and Lyft think their bargaining chips are. Do they propose to exchange proper insurance and licensing in exchange for lifting the caps?

    Why would the taxi companies agree to that since Uber and Lyft are going to be compelled by enforcement of the current for hire statutes to comply with the insurance and licensing requirements. The reality is that Uber and Lyft have nothing to offer the taxi companies.

    All that has happened is that Lyft and Uber spent $400K to gather 36,000 signatures to maybe put a referendum on the ballot. It is unlikely that there will even be a vote because the city attorney will probably get a court ruling that the referendum is invalid. If the referendum gets past that hurdle, then it will be voted down because the voters of Seattle do not support Wall St trying to buy legislation to avoid taxes, insurance and licensing.

    The taxi companies should just stick to supporting the law that the Seattle City Council passed. They have nothing to lose.

    • rick gregory

      “Why would the taxi companies agree to that…” The taxi companies don’t make the law. It’s irrelevant whether they would agree to this or not except to the degree that they’d lobby for or against something.

      Uber, Lyft et al quite clearly provide a service that’s found a market. Rather than simply choke that off, Seattle should look for the best balance between a) serving the public interest, b) allowing new business models to pass or fail in the market and c) be fair to the existing businesses in that market by using the same regulatory mechanisms for everyone.

      • ClaimsAdjuster

        Didn’t read the article? “Seattle will issue a ceast-and-desist letter to app-based transportation startups like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar if an agreement between the companies, taxi drivers and city leaders cannot be made by the end of May.”

        The taxi companies have nothing to gain by coming to an agreement. They can just let the clock run out so that the enforcement hammer will come down. There are also City Council members and licensing department officials who are fed up with these companies giving the finger to the City for a year now.

        • rick gregory

          Oh, I see what you mean.

          I simply wouldn’t, were I Murray, allow the taxi companies (or any other party) to hold the process hostage like that. In his place if I thought we had a proposal that was fair and the taxi companies continued to object just to kill competition then I’d ignore them. We need to take into account all reasonable concerns, but Seattle has a bad history of letting one obstinate party freeze action on things and that should stop.

          • ClaimsAdjuster

            Your idea of a fair agreement is just doing what the TNCs want. Most of the City Council and the taxi industry do not see it that way. The taxi industry has nothing to gain by agreeing to that and Murray is in no position to make them.

          • rick gregory

            How is starting fresh and asking what regulations should be promulgated in 2014 giving the TNCs what they want? And WTF is the taxi industry going to do, secede? Revolt? Things change and no one is guaranteed their way forever.

    • Grumpy Jason

      The fact of the matter is that the existing taxi infrastructure created by the city’s licensing scheme is horribly deficient and a poor bargain. Ridesharing startups have shown us how much better life can be without this level of corruption plaguing our city. The conversation needs to be about getting the poor service, filthy, and greedy taxi companies out of business and replacing them with businesses that accomplish real customer service.

      • ClaimsAdjuster

        You are off topic, twit.

  • chuck cotton

    The city officials of Seattle are clueless at this time regarding the concerted criminal conspiracy of UBER and LYFT that is sweeping across America. I refer to the city attorney and the county DA as well as the State of Washington AG and the Dept. of Insurance Commissioner to retrieve a copy of the Federal RICO lawsuit (42 pages with supporting evidence) from the Southern US District Court of Texas, case # 14-941 filed on 4/8/14 and review and then give an opinion to the city council members and the mayor as well as the state legislators. Go to pacer.gov for a copy.
    The questions I have for everyone is “Why won’t these app companies just obey the laws and then they can do what they want and compete fair and square? Why would a city council member or state legislator vote for companies who refuse to obey the laws anywhere in the US. Our existing laws in a regulated industry are good and protects the public. Unregulated companies can not operate in a regulated ground transportation industry anywhere.
    A stern warning to the public is this:
    Drivers- GET OUT NOW- Avoid criminal exposure
    Passengers-AVOID these apps, drivers, and vehicles(not legal) TRAVEL with a regulated driver and vehicle.
    Investors- all future Silicon Valley, Capital Venture, and private investors-DON’T INVEST-avoid criminal exposure. (Check with your attorney)

    • Nathan

      Warning? Please.

      • pitbullstew

        if it were up to me each and every uber/lyft indy driver would be named as co conspirators and co defendants in any RICO action.

    • HonoraryOrange

      WARNING: GET OUT NOW. Reading the post above may destroy your brain cells from the sheer stupidity.

  • uber user

    Still waiting for a representative of the taxi industry to emerge and say “We clearly need to look inward, and improve so we can compete in this new world. We got fat and complacent with our state-sponsored monopoly, and delivered horrible experiences to our customers, and didn’t care. We are sorry.”

    • pitbullstew

      oh yeah right like every taxi owner operator driver and satff are not working hard playing by the rules and looking to earn better wages, enjoy better working conditions, and benefits? right-uh-huh okeee dokee uber (ab)user u r.

      wake up and smell the illegality of the uber/lyft predatory business practice of greed.

      (*see link to ’8 reasons’ above ^)

      • user user

        Is that your apology?

    • pitbullstew

      still waiting for ubers apology for the 6 year old girl killed in the cross walk and her family mowed down, instead of the culture of denial, delay, defend, and cold hearted indifference? as Taxi Limo and Para services are all fully insured 24-7-365.

      Ol Travis stepped on his appendage on this one, instead of going to the hospital and paying the families bills and accepting a modicum of liability?

      And today what has happened? Its insurance that has slammed the brakes on full lock in every attempt to penetrate the market place as a result?

      stupid is as stupid does alright

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MT3CihStFQ

      • user user

        Is that your apology then?

    • Kary

      Are taxi companies not getting smartphone apps? I’d be surprised if the larger ones are not.

      • HonoraryOrange

        It doesn’t matter, it won’t help them. They don’t show up when asked, they cry about their credit card machines being broken when they aren’t (so they can take fares and not claim it on taxes), and they drive rude and unsafely with no way to rate them. If they had an App they’d be out of business.

  • uboz

    I suggest a compromise: All cars that are used to deliver people, taxi or non-taxi, have to be painted bright yellow, with permit number painted in large bold print, and require to have a meter installed in the dashboard. Now we have a level playing field.

  • constituent

    I haven’t seen the taxi industry this mad since the last time I tried to pay with a credit card.

    • sal

      : )

    • HonoraryOrange

      It’d be funny if it weren’t 100% true.

  • Joe L. Jordan

    UBER is a bad news bear. Their insurance is fraudulent and they don’t drug test or fingerprint their drivers. Also, better hope you don’t need a car in a snowstorm (Surge pricing)

    • TySpace

      Better cite your sources on the insurance being fraudulent or you’re opening yourself up to a libel suit.

      • ClaimsAdjuster

        Apparently you hedge fund tools don’t believe in free speech.

        You want a source? Here you go:

        “Drivers for app-based ride services increasingly commit insurance fraud, a San Francisco assistant district attorney told state regulators on Friday.

        Some drivers for services such as Lyft, UberX and Sidecar lie if they get into an accident and claim they were driving for personal reasons, Conrad Del Rosario told a state Department of Insurance hearing.

        That type of fraud has increased in recent months, he said, as drivers seek someone to pay for repairs when their cars are damaged. The reason: Personal auto insurance doesn’t cover commercial activities, while the ride companies’ $1 million liability policies cover passengers and third parties, but do not cover the drivers and their cars.

        “Personal carriers have absolutely no way to detect this fraud,” Del Rosario said. “They’re completely powerless to know when a person is doing (transportation network company) activity … or conspires with a passenger to say that’s his friend he picked up at a bar.”

        Another type of fraud, which Del Rosario said is extensive, is rate evasion — drivers who buy personal policies, while intending to use their vehicles full time to carry paying passengers.”

        http://skift.com/2014/03/22/ride-share-drivers-committing-insurance-fraud-san-francisco-district-attorney-says/

  • Mike

    Why is it that Uber/Lyft/Sidecar just don’t get the legal licenses to operate as a taxi and/or for-hire service? Right now they operate as a paid electronic hitchhiking platform. It really is, it’s just an app that replaces a thumb sticking up and then some company takes a $ each time you stick your thumb up.

    • Kary

      They wouldn’t likely be able to get the city permits, but the state permits shouldn’t be an issue. The problem with getting the state permits is likely related to insurance.

  • Vicki Johnson

    By hinging their chance at remaining a legal operation on whether or not they are able to reach an agreement with their competition, he is slamming the door of opportunity in the faces of the start-ups. Does anyone really thing their competitors are going to offer a way in? How naive, of course they’ll just sit tight and not negotiate, why give away business? What needs to happen is this – Uber and those like them need to be allowed to qualify for business licenses then be protected under the law and be allowed to operate. Qualification should be fair and equal to whatever the Taxi companies go through. Hey! maybe this will end well and the industry will grow large enough to back those insurance companies down to realistic prices so all of them can earn a fair and decent living.

    • Guest

      The new taxi companies are not legal now — Murray is just stating the truth. Without this ordinance that they don’t want, or some ordinance that legalizes them, they are illegal.

      The new taxi companies don’t want to be legal. They don’t want to pay license fees and taxes. They don’t want to pay for insurance or inspections. They don’t want anybody blocking them from raising prices whenever they want, or blocking them from adding arbitrary fees (like they just did), or taking more money from drivers (like they just did).

      The apps are just a cover story. It isn’t their business model, and it certainly isn’t a longterm competitive advantage. They know they won’t have new cars forever. Cars cost too much. They know that, sooner or later, they’ll look like all the other taxis except they’ll have mustaches instead of yellow paint. Their business model is that they cut costs by avoiding the fees and regulations that other taxi companies pay, then they put those companies out of business and then, with no regulations, they charge whatever they want.

  • John Kane

    If anyone gave me $400,000– like Uber and Lyft gave this group– I could get any petition onto any ballot anywhere in the country. No surprise here. Hedge fund money driving politics in Seattle.

    It’s a corrosive on our democratic process that large hedge fund money from outside of communities can be used to buy petitions, volunteers, candidates, etc. It’s really sad and pathetic. And it’s very far from any kind of “grassroots” organization.

    • HonoraryOrange

      You’re a moron. Go take a Taxi in Seattle and you’l change your tune, quick. Paid shill for the taxi companies are you?

  • John Kane

    And by the way, when will GeekWire stop posting that phony picture of Lyft supporters gathered way back in February? Every single story on ride-sharing, Lyft and Uber, etc., has that same picture from February. It’s a nice PR photo to make that tiny group of Lyft supporters– who knows if they were paid by Lyft to be there?– seem like a bunch of smart, racially diverse hipsters. I mean where’s the photo of the boatloads of hedge fund cash pouring in from corporate offices to influence the politics of Seattle? Let’s destroy a community’s locally controlled political system with far away corporate hedge fund cash and make it seem all warm and cuddly and hip!!

  • Grumpy Jason

    Mayor Murray, you admit that the taxi industry is a monopoly. Don’t the economic rents involved with a monopoly amount to a defrauding of the people who elected you?

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Monopoly is the wrong term since there are numerous taxi companies with many owners. Most of the licenses are held by owner/drivers.

      A regulated public utility with regulated rates such as Puget Sound Energy, Comcast or Centurylink is a more apt description for the taxi industry.

      • Grumpy Jason

        “Trust” is a better term, then – Mayor Murray was the one who used the term monopoly. My criticism about defrauding the citizens of this city applies just as much to Comcast and CenturyLink. These government-created trusts must be dismantled when technology allows us to dismantle them, as is the case with UberX and as will be increasingly be the case with telecom. Those who depend on government to capture business for them should find real jobs.

        • ClaimsAdjuster

          What a kool aid drinker you are. Technology has nothing to do with it as these apps are a dime a dozen. Uber is cutting corners in insurance and licensing with its under-the-table business.

          Uber is still dumping uninsured vehicles on the street and refusing to pay for accidents caused by their drivers.

          A recent NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit broadcast a report that shows Uber’s policies can leave drivers and passengers in the lurch if there are accidents. And despite administering background checks, Uber still employs drivers with criminal records that include burglary, domestic assault and drug trafficking.

          http://www.nbcbayarea.com/inve

          Uber’s reaction to the lawsuit filed by Jason Herrera, an UberX passenger injured in the accident mentioned in the report is that Uber is a tech company that is not responsible for its cars or drivers. “…Uber warrants that it is a technology company and denies that it is a transportation company or common carrier” states the company’s response to Jason A Herrera v Uber Technologies.

          http://www.scribd.com/doc/2091

  • JunglistMassiff

    Murray, you’re a piece of shit. I hope you get hit by a taxi.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      If you have to pick, getting hit by a taxi would be better than being hit by an uninsured TNC.

      • JunglistMassiff

        There’s that buzzword again. Educate yourself a little bit on the issue before opening your mouth again. When there is no passenger in the car, the driver (who has to show proof of full legal washington insurance to become a driver) is insured by their own individual policy. When there is a passenger in a Lyft, that car gets an additional $1,000,000 insurance policy above and beyond their own driver policy. Legal, insured, do you have another argument? No? Stfu.

        • ClaimsAdjuster

          The driver’s insurance is invalid since it is non-commercial. Filing claims against this policy in a TNC accident constitutes insurance fraud.

          Take your own advice and educate yourself. STFU, yourself, dip stick.

  • Karl

    I suspect fully autonomous taxis will become feasible within the next decade. What happens then? It’d be nice if Seattle’s regulations considered this probable outcome.

  • rawrscary

    I’d like to know who the government thinks they are to tell someone they are illegal for driving another person around? If I post an ad on craigslist and offer $10 rides from Tacoma to Seattle, what power do they have to step in and somehow tell me I am illegal to do that?

    Sorry, but are we living in Nazi Germany or America, home of the free?

    Pretty sure we escaped the UK and came here to get away from this very kind of crap.

    • ClaimsAdjuster

      Nazi Germany? Drama much?