Obviously, we’re pleased to see Seattle move so proactively, intentionally and forcefully to protect itself. In the absence of specific regulations and accompanying enforcement, these transportation services will operate as they please—and very much against the interests of public safety.
What we are concerned with, however, is Seattle’s new two-track system for regulating what for all intents and purposes are taxicabs. Why create a second regulation track for “ridesharing”? Ridesharing companies are simply taxi companies operated by amateur drivers whose vehicles are hailed through an app.
A uniform set of Seattle taxicab regulations would help to avoid the type of harmful effects now beginning to appear in California where taxi drivers are migrating to the TNC model due to cheaper overhead costs, and where passengers with disabilities are suffering due to the loss of drivers. One single track for taxicab regulation would also protect community-wide service to poorer neighborhoods, since “ridesharing” companies are mostly interested in sharing their ride with affluent people.
We’ll write more about Seattle coming up. Stay tuned.