Giving a catchy name like ride-share to companies such as Lyft and Uber do not make them anything but what they are: taxis [“Seattle City Council postpones tough vote on uberX, Lyft and Sidecar,” Opinion Northwest, Feb. 14]. The only difference is that the taxi industry is highly regulated by the very same City Council that has been turning a blind eye to the unregulated ride-share companies. Taxi companies and their drivers must meet very strict insurance requirements and background checks, can charge only rates set by the city and pay the city for the right to drive their taxis. And the ride-share companies don’t.
Another difference is the taxi companies are mainly driven by an immigrant population that doesn’t have the backing of major investors to lobby the City Council for a free ride on our streets. And when you have big investors involved you have to yield higher profits. So you can expect the ride-share companies, once they have driven the cabs out of business, to drastically increase their rates.
Whether you are dispatched by an app, or by radio, if you collect money for driving someone some place, you are a taxi.
Roberta MacKinnon, Seattle