In a vote that bought established taxi companies time to play catch-up and delayed bigger decisions around the new-era services, a Seattle City Council committee voted Thursday on a compromise solution to cap the number of drivers that can be active on new pro-am car services like UberX, Lyft and Sidecar.
The two-year “pilot” plan approved Thursday will cap the number of drivers on each service at 150 active cars for hire. The vote was the result of an attempt to head off an even more restrictive cap:
Rasmussen was joined by Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw, Tim Burgess, Jean Godden and Sally Clark in voting for the limit, which was a compromise aimed at heading off an effort by other Councilmembers who wanted to cap the total number of drivers across all of the companies at 400.
Councilmembers Mike O’Brien, Kshama Sawant, Nick Licata and Bruce Harrell were those favoring a total limit of 400 drivers.
Local tech news outlet Geekwire claims “nobody is happy” with the vote that follows months of debate — and marketing. On Thursday, some customers of ridesharing service Uber were annoyed by “robo-calls” imploring them to contact officials at City Hall prior to Thursday’s vote. You could press “1” to be connected to the mayor’s office. Representatives for some of the car services have said the caps will force them to pull out of the Seattle market. Others also operate more traditional-styled car networks in the city and won’t see those services affected by the cap on so-called rideshare options that employee freelance drivers.
The full City Council must now vote on the committee-approved legislation.