One week after a Seattle City Council subcommittee‘s controversial and preliminary decision to limit ridesharing services to 150 drivers per network at any given time, Lyft, uberX and Sidecar have each come forward to reveal the number of drivers on their respective platforms.
During a Feb. 27 hearing, council members complained loudly that these companies were refusing to release that information. The city’s top officials have struggled for months to reach an agreement on how to legalize ridesharing, which has disrupted Seattle’s highly regulated taxi industry.
Now armed with a little more information, council members should revisit the cap number they proposed and at least raise the limit on the number of drivers from each company who can work at the same time.
A March 10 vote by the full council has been postponed until March 17.
On Friday afternoon, uberX sent out a press release revealing it “has 900 active drivers on its system. This number does not include drivers who have left the system or those awaiting background checks to join the system. That number also does not include UberBlack or UberSUV drivers.”
The service also said more than 300 drivers are active at any given time and continues to grow with demand. So if the city’s proposed legislation is passed, hundreds of drivers using their personal cars will lose the ability they currently enjoy to earn income through uberX.
Uber Seattle General Manager Brooke Steger’s statement:
“It remains our position that caps on drivers have nothing to do with safety. We are only now releasing these driver numbers to illustrate to the Council that this legislation will kill ridesharing as we know it. In the face of steady or increasing taxi revenues, the Council is still choosing protect the taxi industry over the tens of thousands of their constituents who have called on them to remove the caps.”
Last week, Geekwire’s Taylor Soper reported that Sidecar has nearly 1,000 drivers in Seattle.
After the uberX email came out, I asked Lyft for similar information.
Spokeswoman Erin Simpson wrote back that more than 1000 drivers in Seattle have “gone through the safety approval process to join the Lyft platform.”
Many of these local residents drive with Lyft on their way to work, while they are running errands, or on the weekends to make ends meet. The cap that Seattle city leaders want to enforce will restrict the number of Lyft drivers allowed on the road at any given time to 150 total. The cap will prevent these drivers from being able to use Lyft, especially during times when passengers who have chosen to live car-free in Seattle need them most.