Taxi drivers will demand the regulation of ridesharing companies Lyft, Sidecar and UBERx at a City Hall rally this afternoon.
After the 2 p.m. rally, the Western Washington Taxicab Operators Association (WWTOA) plans to deliver a petition with more than 500 signatures to the Seattle City Council, according to Teamsters Local 117.
Ridesharing services Lyft, Sidecar and UBERx use drivers and vehicles not licensed through the city to offer services similar to that of for-hire drivers. The services, which riders request via smart-phone applications with GPS technology, have been competing against each other in Seattle since April.
But, so far, the city has not tried to shut down the services while it figures out how to regulate them.
“The city is not fulfilling its responsibility to enforce the laws that are on the books,” WWTOA member Salah Mohamed said in a statement. “The industry is in turmoil, and taxi drivers and their families are suffering as a result. The city says it is studying the issue, but there is no plan to beef up enforcement to protect taxis from losing fares.”
City Councilmember Sally Clark has that she hopes the council decides how to regulate the services by the end of the summer. She said the city may end up finding a way to make the services legal by regulating them in a way that’s similar to the way California recently decided to regulate them. California issued cease-and-desist orders to Lyft, Sidecar and UBERx last fall, but decided in recent months to legalize them after certain regulations were put in place.
But first, the City Council wants to finish an analysis of demand for taxi and for-hire cab services. They expect the results of an online survey of consumers to be part of that analysis.
“Everything is on the table,” Clark said in a story in today’s Seattle Times. “But I do not want to wrestle with this as long as they did in California.”