I’ll have more thoughts on this later, but in a rather anticlimactic meeting this afternoon, the Seattle City Council approved final passage of taxi and “transportation network company” (TNC) regulations that impose a cap of 150 drivers per TNC actively picking up passengers at any one time. Also, it makes these services legal, so it’s not like Lyft, Sidecar, and uberX don’t get anything out of this.
“What we’re actually doing in these regulations allowing the ride-shares to operate in the market,” explained council member Bruce Harrell.
Council member Tom Rasmussen had proposed an amendment that would have removed these caps, but only he, Sally Bagshaw, and Tim Burgess voted for it. There were a bunch of other amendments passed, some technical, some a bit more policy oriented. For example, the minimum rating for an insurance company providing commercial taxi insurance was lowered a notch, increasing the number of insurers in the market and thus potentially lowering costs. Also, an amendment trying to prevent, say, Uber, from getting around the cap by creating UberY and UberZ, was also added to the ordinance.
Despite the 3-6 dispute over caps, the final entire ordinance passed unanimously. So there.