From tool libraries to 12th Ave cohousing, CHS has been pretty much unabashed cheerleaders of the sharing economy. The philosophy fits so well into what a growing neighborhood in an urban core needs as residents wrestle with issues of affordability and simple things like elbow room. We’ve also noted the growing fleet of car services plying the neighborhood’s streets. New things like Car2Go, Lyft and old-timer Zipcar fit in here nicely, thank you very much.
While the City Council’s desire to further regulate the services isn’t quite as dire a situation as the companies might have you believe, it would mean crimping off some of the most interesting aspects of the new ways to get around a city. Here is what the Seattle tech-loving Geekwire has to say about the proposals:
The first draft limited the “transportation network companies” — Sidecar, Lyft, UberX — to no more than 100 vehicles each. Now, the updated draft states that the city will issue 300 total TNC driver permits by lottery.
So, instead of capping the number of drivers each company may have, the city wants to cap the overall number of TNC drivers. That means, for example, Seattle could end up with just 300 Lyft drivers, which would exclude Sidecar and UberX from having any drivers. In the original ordinance, each company was allowed up to 100 drivers each — now, however, one company could have more or less than 100 drivers depending on the lottery winners.
The regulations to be
voted on considered by a Council committee Friday would also attempt to eliminate working with the services as a full-time pro by capping drivers to 16 hours per week.
Possibly more important from a public safety standpoint, the proposed regulation also requires the services to disclose to drivers that their personal insurance policies may not be adequate in the event of a serious injury incident and also puts the companies on the hook if a driver’s insurance claim is denied. In essence, city officials say the new rules will level the playing field for the new services and the existing taxi regulations in the city.
At the core of all this is the question of whether these new, technology-based services should also be allowed to innovate in the way they staff and run their services. When it comes to cars, at least, the Seattle City Council appears poised to say no.