Pilot program to regulate Seattle rideshares

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by ADAM MERTZ / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on December 11, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 11 at 11:28 PM

SEATTLE- The city council is considering a new two year pilot program to regulate on-demand car services like UberX and Lyft. A city council committee will layout the proposal Friday, which includes new requirements for rideshare companies. 
 
The proposal limits companies like UberX to 100 vehicles, requires special permits for drivers, and prohibits some drivers from working more than 16 hours each week.
 
“It is kind of an unveiling of those interim rules and I want to be really clear it is a starting point,” said councilmember Sally Clark.
 
Uber Seattle general manager Brooke Steger said UberX already has more than 100 drivers throughout the city. She believes capping hours and drivers could hurt service.
 
"It is very anti-competitive and not forward thinking of the committee to propose these regulations," said Steger.
 
The proposal also includes guidelines for vehicle inspections, background checks for drivers, and insurance requirements. Steger said Uber supports those aspects of the plan because they are similar to company policies already in place.
 
The rideshare companies could also be required to pay for a new business license, which would cost at least $50,000 each year.
 
"These companies are new so we don't have a structure that is set up to regulate. We don't have the staff in place to regulate the Lyfts and UberXs," said Clark.  "In this proposal the industry would shoulder the cost for setting up this new structure."
 
The Taxi, For-Hire, and Limousine Regulations Committee will meet 9:30 a.m. Friday at city hall.
 
Clark said they will discuss the proposals and make changes if necessary. A final plan will not be ready until early next year.

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