City leaders divided over limiting rideshares like Uber-X, Lyft

by: Linzi Sheldon Updated:


SEATTLE - Momentum may be shifting in the fight between taxi companies and new rideshare services like Uber-X, Sidecar, and Lyft. Council members have been considering limiting the number of rideshare drivers to 300. "A lot of my friends, they do use the Lyft," Leroy Johnson said. "It's like modern day cars, it's nothing old, something like 2008 or newer."

On Friday, rideshare companies seemed to be gaining momentum with some City Council members. "I think we're better served if we let, frankly, the new technology work," Seattle City Council member Sally Bagshaw said. "Let's let people have choices." A vote scheduled for Friday was suddenly pushed back for more discussion.

Council member Sally Clark suggested a cap of 600. Bagshaw said she wants no cap at all. "There is probably four of us at this point that would like to see the cap lifted," she said.

Silas Lindenstein drives for Lyft. "They get it," Lindenstein said. "They understand what the rideshare economy is about."

According to city officials, there are 848 taxis and for-hire vehicles in Seattle. Council members have tried to find out how many rideshare vehicles there are, but say the companies haven't responded. It's part of why some council members support the cap of 300. "I think starting at this cap, based on the lack of information we have, is the way to go," Council member Mike O'Brien said.

Taxi driver Salah Mohamed is worried. "They're undercutting with less regulation," he said. He said rideshares need to be reined in with fewer drivers on the roads.

The taxi committee is scheduled to vote on the cap and other regulations, including required training and insurance, on Feb. 27.

Want to talk about the news of the day? Watch free streaming video on the KIRO 7 mobile app and iPad app, and join us here on Facebook.