Seattle’s rideshare services submitted signatures today to place a referendum on the August ballot that would overturn new regulations limiting their numbers.
Brad Harwood, spokesman for Keep Seattle’s Ride Options, said the group has collected “way more” than the 16,510 signatures needed to get the measure before voters. The city is immediately blocked from enforcing the new rules and couldn’t enact them unless voters reject the referendum. It it likely the referendum would be on the November ballot.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is meeting with the rideshare representatives in hopes of negotiating an agreement that would keep the referendum off the ballot. Murray has said he opposes limits on how many drivers the ride services can have on the street.
The City Attorney’s Office is studying whether the ordinance is even subject to referendum. If it can legally be considered an administrative action, it may fall outside the referendum process.
The City Council approved new rules last month to limit each company to 150 drivers on the road at a time. The new regulations also requite the companies — which use smartphone apps to dispatch divers using their personal vehicles — to meet the same safety and insurance requirements as taxi companies.
The city limits the taxi industry to 688 vehicle licenses and hasn’t granted a new license since at least 1990.