I was disappointed to read the guest column from Mike O’Brien and Rich Stolz [“Looking out for immigrant drivers in new taxi,” Uber, Lyft laws,” Opinion, Feb. 13]. He claims that regulations protecting the Seattle taxi monopoly are really in place to protect our city’s immigrant population.
This is an unfortunate line of attack from taxi supporters, especially given that 75 percent of uberX drivers are East African and 20 percent come from Indian and Pakistani descent. The writers are essentially choosing one group of immigrants over another.
Even after hearing from 600 Uber partner drivers and supplied with the demographic stats I noted above, Councilmember O’Brien chose to ignore all of the facts.
It is also notable that O’Brien has been a staunch supporter of increasing the minimum wage. At the same time, he is defending the current regulatory structure that pays taxi drivers less than the current minimum wage, while uberX drivers are earning well over $15 an hour.
This is why 50 percent of uberX drivers are former taxi drivers.
Uber also believes communities of color and small businesses are important to the fabric of the city. And we know that Seattle needs multiple transportation options for its citizens to thrive. We hope that Councilmember O’Brien works to support all immigrants and their right to make a living wage, regardless of what system they work for and which interests support his re-election campaigns.
Brooke Steger, general manager of Uber — Seattle