Uber and Lyft still collecting signatures, as Seattle City Council considers new agreement

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Uber and Lyft have poured in nearly $600,000 to a coalition group that is collecting initiative signatures in Seattle.

Despite reaching an agreement to allow Uber, Lyft and Sidecar to operate in Seattle legally, a coalition group is still collecting signatures from citizens — just in case the city’s lawmakers don’t approve the new set of rules.

Earlier this month, the San Francisco-based startups — also known as transportation network companies (TNCs) — reached a new deal with taxi drivers and the city to legalize the TNCs and introduce other changes for taxis and for-hire vehicles.

But the Seattle City Council still must vote to approve the agreement before it actually becomes law. In the case that councilmembers reject the deal, a coalition group that has received more than $600,000 from Lyft and Uber — including $200,000 from Lyft alone this month — are gathering signatures to put an initiative on the ballot later this year.

If the coalition group, named “Seattle Citizens to Repeal Ordinance 12444,” can get at least 20,638 valid signatures of registered Seattle voters — ten percent of the total number of votes cast for mayor in the last mayoral election (206,377) — the initiative would qualify for the ballot.

uberxBack in April, the same coalition collected more than 36,000 signatures to suspend the original TNC ordinance that was approved by City Council one month before. The ordinance would have legalized the TNCs, but also included a controversial cap on active TNC vehicles (150 per company).

The initiative would go beyond just repealing the law, laying out an alternative proposal that would establish insurance requirements, safety regulations and license fees for the TNCs.

For now, the ball is in the City Council’s court. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, who oversaw the recent negotiation process, has asked the City Council to approve the agreement and repeal the original ordinance that set the limits, which would also end the coalition’s efforts to hold a public referendum on the ordinance. The City Council would then replace the old law with the new deal, and the referendum would not appear on the ballot.

Mayor Ed Murray announces the new TNC agreement on June 16.

Mayor Ed Murray announces the new TNC agreement on June 16.

Brad Harwood, spokesperson for the coalition, told GeekWire that there is a chance the referendum and initiative could both appear on the ballot later this year.

“We hope the City Council will act quickly to avoid the need for an initiative or referendum campaign,” Harwood said.

Uber Seattle General Manager Brooke Steger also wants councilmembers to approve the new deal.

“While we are hopeful that the Council repeals the old ordinance and passes a new one based on the agreement announced last week, we have to continue supporting the Coalition’s efforts until the new ordinance is actually passed,” Steger said.

City officials have yet to announce when the City Council will meet to accept or reject the new agreement. Meanwhile, as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar continue to operate in Seattle without regulation, representatives from the taxi industry are suing the City of Seattle and the coalition group, alleging that the referendum would be invalid.

Related: Seattle’s compromise with Uber, Lyft and Sidecar leaves key players mostly happy

  • Guest

    Yawn. The War on Taxis is over and we consumers have won. To fight at this stage is to be in denial.

    • pitbullstew

      the only ones in denial are uber and lyft and their drivers who have ignored cease and desist orders every where they have been declared illegal when they think they can exempt themselves from the same rules that every one else is operating unbder who #playbytherules, and get away with it.

      Least you forget there are no less than three federal law suits calling uber and lyft lawless, predatory business practices, and racketeers under federal R.I.C.O. law, and largest segment in denail of all are the lawless drivers who see their vehicles inppounded and issued citations by the scores every where.

      If uber and lyft and their follish drivers some how think that gvt is not keeping score and will over look the whol sale lawlessness with out consequence?

      Well lets just say denial just doesnt quit cover it?

      more like arrogance, hubris and stupidity.

  • pitbullstew

    wow, guess that kumbya thing the mayor is on about doesnt play well in the halls of the corporate personhoods hallways at uber and lyft huh?

    when will gvt ever learn that both uber and lyft give a rip less about what it thinks?

  • http://www.puzzazz.com/ Roy Leban

    I think Ed Murray blew it. If I were running a taxi company in Seattle, I would immediately declare it to be a TNC and cut my costs. This is not a level playing field.

    If you want to read about real ride sharing, go here: http://imgur.com/a/tYIKf

    • Concerned old woman

      Roy, outstanding idea! Then of course when the only way to get a ride is to use a smart phone all the poor elderly people won’t be able to get tom their doctor appointments or to the grocery store. Rideshare is extremely discriminatory to the elderly.

      Another point I would like to make. Look at these postings. Advertisements for both Uber and Lyft. I thought that this was a site for comments, not free advertising. Goes to show how low these guys will sink!

      • http://www.puzzazz.com/ Roy Leban

        That’s exactly my point. Taxis are regulated for a variety of reasons, including ensuring availability to all people. Taxis can’t decline a fare, tell you they’re too busy, or say they don’t go to that part of town. Taxi companies have to provide for handicapped people. If the taxi companies care only about profits, they would make more money by becoming so-called TNCs and shedding all the regulations. Of course, that’s bad for consumers, and that’s why Ed Murray blew it. His plan allows these upstarts to follow a subset of the laws.

  • laughtiger

    The best democracy money can buy!

    Sieg Heil, Uber!

  • ClaimsAdjuster

    The referendum and the initiatives are all invalid. The court is scheduled to rule on the referendum July 8th. Uber is trying to rush the Seattle City Council into repealing the suspended law on July 7th because they are afraid that the initiatives and referendum will be shot down. But the Council has no reason to make such a rash move when they can just wait one day.

  • carmabob

    These guys are themselves offering taxi services, the only difference is the technology. Therefore regulation is essential for passenger comfort and safety.