City council debates rules, regulations around new car services

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SEATTLE — For-hire, taxi and ride share drivers packed into a city council meeting Thursday afternoon to weigh in on a system some are’t happy with — regulations surrounding the city’s licensing requirements for taxi drivers versus drivers other other car services.

Limousine car services and ride shares like UberX and Lyft have recently become popular because of courteous, clean and prompt service. But cab drivers and for-hire drivers  said the city is failing to regulate these new ride shares at the cost to passengers safety.

Ride share drivers are not regulated by the city, so they are not mandated to go through the same training and licensing that cab drivers must. One cab driver said it’s a grossly unfair playing field and it is squeezing the taxi industry out of the market.

But others in the industry say the competition will drive better customer service.

The city council is considering several options. One would be to simply shut down ride shares all together, another would be to start regulating the new services in line with with that current regulations that cab companies must comply with. Many predict that the city council will not make an extreme decision to cut ride shares out of the market because they are just too popular.

Uber said they believe Seattle is a big enough market that all the different types of services can thrive.

The city council will weigh all the options and make a final decision by early November.


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