Mayor says deal in place for Uber-taxi harmony on the streets of Seattle

Seattle won’t be known as the city that rejected ridesharing after all. Screen-Shot-2014-04-28-at-10.09.00-AM-400x298Mayor Ed Murray announced an accord Monday in the ongoing battles between Seattle’s taxi companies and new-era car services like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar. The “historic agreement” will provide “a framework to enable all parties in the for-hire industry to compete fairly to serve the needs of the public,” a statement from the mayor’s office reads.

Here are the key components of the deal, according to the announcement.

·         Transportation network companies and their drivers will be licensed and required to meet specific insurance requirements.

·         The City will work with the industry to clarify or change state insurance law to account for recent changes in the industry, similar to recent actions in Colorado.

·         There will be no cap on the number of transportation network company drivers.

·         The City will provide 200 new taxi licenses over the next four years.

·         Taxi and for-hire licenses will transition to a property right that is similar to a medallion in other cities.

·         For-hire drivers will have hailing rights.

·         An accessibility fund will be created through a $0.10 per ride surcharge for drivers and owners to offset higher trip and vehicle costs for riders who require accessibility services.

The latest regulations must still be approved by the City Council. In March, CHS reported on legislation to regulate new services like Uber that set caps on the numbers of drivers who could participate. What followed was continued disagreements and legal threats. The proposed caps on the numbers of drivers allowed to operate with the new services were especially contentious. The new deal seemingly puts off any remaining legal threats to the regulations and should allow the new services to continue to operate in Seattle. For anybody tired of the historically poor service offered by the area’s leading cab companies, the agreement is a clear victory. For anti-corporate shuttle activists? Well, the agreement will give them more protest targets.

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5 thoughts on “Mayor says deal in place for Uber-taxi harmony on the streets of Seattle

  1. I am interested to find out what data the City is requiring Uber to share with them. Sounds like government snooping to me. I wonder if they get the same Data from the cab companies.

  2. Medallions sold = city of Seattle revenue.
    Unlimited Uber cars = Uber’s private profit.

    So Seattle loses because an “iPhone app”?
    What about taxicabs that offered their
    own apps?

    Clearly – highly manipulative and
    highly corrupt decision by Ed Murray.

    Uber’s benefit = Seattle loss.

  3. Don’t confuse an announcement with an actual agreement. The participants who did not go along with the Mayor’s cave to Uber had already walked out of the negotiations by the end. So what was produced is a mirage, not an actual agreement among the stakeholders.

    The insurance industry was certainly a stakeholder in this but was not at the table. For example, one item in the Mayor’s draft stated that the City is supposed to endorse the “Colorado insurance rules” for TNCs at the state level:

    “With City support, industry reps participating in this agreement will work jointly to clarify or modify the current language of State insurance law to account for recent changes in the industry and business models of all market participants, including TNCs, taxis and for-hire vehicles. The City will support an insurance language changes similar to the agreement recently reached in Colorado…”

    If the insurance industry had been represented, they would never agree to this this lax Colorado coverage which is only $50K max injury per individual, $100 tops per accident while the UberX/Lyft driver is in between fares. The Sofia Liu case in California fits that profile. The City of San Francisco has already spent $500K on medical treatment for the surviving members of the Liu family. The Colorado rules would allow just a $100K payout in that case.

    Neither the Seattle City Council nor Olympia is likely to go along with this when the max on taxi insurance is currently $325K whether the cab has a passenger or not. Instead of Colorado, the City Council would be more likely to follow the example of California where both the CPUC and the state legislature are now in a race to be the first to put an end to TNC corner cutting on insurance.

    In the mean time, the court case against the Uber/Lyft referendum will soon be decided. If the the plaintiffs prevail, the currently suspended law, caps and all, will go into effect. The Mayor’s agreement will just end up in the trash where it belongs.

  4. Pingback: Woman says Uber driver raped her at unknown Capitol Hill park — UPDATE | CHS Capitol Hill Seattle