The Seattle City Council approved a resolution to explore new regulations for ride-hailing companies, like Uber and Lyft, Monday.
The resolution doesn’t enact new rules yet but it opens up debate on a variety of changes, including data sharing mandates and a minimum base fare of $2.40 per ride. Seattle says the changes are designed to level the transportation playing field and regulate transportation companies more fairly.
“We’re a city of innovation and technology has once again gotten in front of the policies,” said City Council President Bruce Harrell during a heated meeting Monday. He said that more comprehensive data from ride-hailing companies is necessary to come up with a “win-win” set of regulations that ensures fairness across Seattle’s transportation sector.
Much of the debate surrounding the resolution focuses on the taxi industry.
“The restrictions on these taxi drivers are incredible and we are now realizing that they are competing in a new world and we want to revisit those,” said Harrell at a meeting last week.
Alejandro Chouza, Uber’s new general manager for the Pacific Northwest, says the company is willing to work with Seattle to share data in a way that doesn’t compromise its competitive information.
“Uber is committed to working with the city to provide information for developing fact-based policies that benefit all stakeholders,” he said during the hearing Monday.
But Chouza asked the council for more clarity about the goals of the resolution and warned that more than doubling Uber’s base fare will result in higher costs for riders and fewer trips for drivers.
Uber expects a draft of the final regulations to be introduced by the third quarter of 2018.
Update: Here’s a tweet from Teamsters 117:
A good day for drivers in Seattle! @SeattleCouncil unanimously adopts resolution 31808 to collect and analyze driving data from TNC companies to create safe, reliable and cost effective conditions for all. #1u #RaiseUpUber
— Teamsters 117 (@teamsters117) April 9, 2018
And here’s an official statement from Uber, attributed to Chouza:
“The Council ignored the testimony of dozens of drivers and riders and more than 20,000 people who signed a petition to keep rideshare affordable. Today’s vote was another step toward nearly doubling the per mile rate for rideshare and making Seattle an even more expensive place to live, all apparently at the request of the Teamsters and to protect market share for taxi.
As we’ve shared before, there are more than 15,000 people in Seattle who use Uber to make money, and more than 800,000 people who use the service for safe, convenient and affordable transportation. Both those numbers continue to grow. We look forward to working with the City in the coming months to help ensure the City Council has the information needed to make fact-based policies that help solve real problems and keep Seattle moving forward.”