Murray: Tentative agreement reached with rideshare companies, taxis


by LIZA JAVIER / KING 5 News and Associated Press

Posted on June 16, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 16 at 5:30 PM

SEATTLE  - After lengthy discussions with taxi companies and ridesharing companies, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray on Monday announced a tentative agreement that would lift a cap on the number of rideshare cars allowed on the road at a time.

“The goal of this process is to balance legitimate interests of all sides, protect public safety and provide access to a broad array of efficient and affordable transportation options in Seattle,” said Murray.

Murray is sending the agreement to the Seattle City Council for approval to replace the current ordinance, which places regulations on companies such as UberX and Lyft. For the agreement to work, Murray said the council would have to repeal the current ordinance, which would then suspend the referendum that had been filed to overturn the ordinance.

Uber, Lyft and others use smartphone apps to dispatch drivers who use personal vehicles.
The council in March limited each company to 150 rideshare cars on the road at one time. The companies said it would hurt their business, and they backed a campaign to repeal the rules through a referendum.
The deal announced Monday includes the following:

  • Transportation network companies and their drivers will be licensed and required to meet insurance requirements.
  • The city will provide 200 new taxi licenses over the next four years. Taxi and for-hire licenses will transition to a property right similar in other cities.
  • There will be no cap on transportation network company drivers.
  • An accessibility fund will be created with a 10 cent per ride surcharge to offset the higher trip and vehicle costs for riders who require accessibility services.

“It is an agreement born out of the need to embrace technology that is rapidly transforming every aspect of our society, in this industry in particular. Seattle must stand at the forefront of innovation and not impede new ideas or add new unnecessary regulations. It is also an agreement that honors the taxi industry’s historic role in Seattle.”