Cab drivers say Seattle ride share companies illegal

by: Jeff Dubois Updated:

SEATTLE —

Cab drivers in Seattle are crying foul over new ride share companies, such as Lyft, which are becoming increasingly popular.

The ride share companies are the hip new way to catch a ride.  Smartphone users can get in touch with the nearest driver and pay with their smartphone.  For some of the companies, riders pay a donation instead of a set fare.

The ride share drivers are typically part-time workers who  have limited training, but are being marketed as a friendly, trendy alternative to a taxi.

But local cab drivers are upset because the city is allowing the ride-share companies to operate illegally.

Traditional cab drivers have to be permitted, pay annual license fees, and get regular car inspections to work in Seattle, but drivers for ride-share companies, even though they do virtually the same job, operate without doing those things.Local taxi drivers say it’s costing them business.

"All this year, it's hard to make money,” said cab driver Aschalew Lidet, who estimated he loses almost $100 per day to ride share drivers.

On Monday, local cab drivers are taking a petition with the signatures of 500 cab drivers to Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s office.

They want the city to regulate the ride share companies and level the playing field.

City leaders are said to be considering options, including whether to increase the number of for-hire licenses it hands out each year.

Currently, Seattle only offers 200 licenses for taxi and town car operators.

KIRO 7 will be at City Hall Monday when the cab drivers deliver those petitions.