by: Essex Porter Updated:
SEATTLE - The Seattle City Council today gave a big win to Uber, Lyft and the people who prefer rideshare companies to taxis, voting to repeal the caps they’d placed earlier on the number of rideshare cars on the street.
“What's at stake is the life and death of the taxi industry,” Joseph Blondo, a 26-year veteran of driving cabs.
The City Council passed caps on rideshares in March, but they’ve been on hold because Uber filed a referendum to let the voters decide in November. Because of that pressure, Mayor Ed Murray was able to forge a compromise, allowing more taxis in exchange for lifting the caps on rideshares, and moving to a more level playing field on regulation.
“We all get something even though we all lost something,” said Abdul Yusuf of CNG For Hire.
The Council voted 6-3 to repeal the caps.
“Let's have a clean slate and let's get on to our compromise agreement,” said council member Jean Godden.
Council members Nick Licata, Mike O’Brien and Kshama Sawant voted “no.”
“A $17 billion multinational corporation is moving in,” said Sawant, referring to Uber. “It is putting small transportation businesses out of business, but this is no different than what Walmart has done to put Main Street out of business."
But on Tuesday, a judge may rule Uber’s referendum illegal, thereby easing the pressure to eliminate the caps on rideshares.
“It's not over by a long shot, not by a long shot,” said Green Taxi General Manager Chris Van Dyk.