City Council to vote on move towards base fare for Uber and Lyft

SEATTLE — The Seattle City Council will vote Monday on a proposal that could lead to higher costs for people getting rides from Uber or Lyft.

The city council is mulling over a resolution that, if passed, would allow the city to begin creating a new set of regulations on for-hire transportation companies like Uber and Lyft.

A city council committee already passed a resolution that calls for studying a base fare of $2.40, which was Uber's base rate in 2014.

As the company expanded, it dropped to $1.35.

KIRO 7 Reporter Rob Munoz is breaking down the arguments from those for and against a base rate fare and is explaining how it could affect riders during live reports in our morning newscast.

Supporters say it will will help drivers make a better wage in an increasingly expensive city that already has a $15 minimum wage for most other workers.

Driver Fasil Teeka supports raising the base fare, saying he works 12- or 15-hour days, seven days a week for a living wage.

"We make money, but we don't have savings, it just pays our bills," Teeka said. "Our cost of living, the rent, the gas price, everything else goes up, but the wage we are making has been the same."

Uber and other critics are fighting the idea saying high fares will drive away customers and is a political move to support the taxi cab industry.

"Because of the low rates, we were able to provide a service that everyone can afford,” said Caleb Weaver with Uber.

Drivers who support keeping the lower rate say they're making good money now.

"Last week alone, I made $900 and worked less than 30 hours. That's way more than minimum wage," said driver Michael Wolfe.

City Council President Bruce Harrell said he wants to see the wage and hour data and that Uber is misleading the discussion because they don't have to pass on the potential $2.40 base charge to passengers.

If this proposal passes Monday, it will direct the City Council to work on the actual legislation itself.

Resolution 31808

A RESOLUTION relating to the for-hire transportation industry; establishing a work program for the City Council to review the administrative rules and regulations to improve customer service and lower costs to participants, and to explore ways to ensure equal market access to all participants.

If this eventually passes the Seattle City Council, Seattle would be the first place to require a base fare for rides.