Mayor Murray released the following statement today regarding regulations on taxis, for-hire vehicles and transportation network companies (commonly referred to as ridesharing services):
“Taxis, for-hire vehicles and transportation network companies all help make our roads safe and our city accessible. They provide access to jobs and economic opportunity for many first-time entrants into the job market, and for those looking for flexible full- or part-time work. They make it possible to live in Seattle without a car – or to leave a car at home – and help create a more vibrant nightlife.
Taxis, for-hire vehicles and transportation network companies all have a place in Seattle.
Last Thursday the City Council Committee on Taxi, For-Hire and Limousine Regulations voted on a set of new regulations for TNCs to help ensure safety for passengers, drivers and the general public.
I was pleased to work with the Committee and with the stakeholders on finding a balanced proposal.
From the time my office entered this discussion, I have had four main concerns:
First, my priority was safety for all, and I wanted to ensure that any final regulations on TNCs include insurance and safety requirements commensurate to taxis and for-hire vehicles currently licensed in Seattle, which the Committee adopted. These safety requirements, once enacted, will enable the TNCs to become licensed and to operate legally and safely in Seattle. And let me add, the City will enforce them.
Second, I recognized that current law-abiding taxi and for-hire license holders and drivers played by a set of rules long-established by the City, and so wanted to ensure that these drivers got some relief from some of the most burdensome regulations. This includes changes to insurance regulations that limit the number of available insurance carriers, streamlining the required training course to focus on safety, increasing the number of available taxi licenses, and allowing for-hire drivers street-hailing rights.
Third, I advocated all along for a comprehensive review of the entire regulatory framework of the industry, in addition to the changes noted above, which the Committee adopted. The industry is heavily regulated, and we must explore additional ways to ‘level the playing field’ and increase efficiency and innovation in the industry, so all players have the opportunity to succeed. All of Seattle – including passengers, drivers, and local business owners – will benefit from a clear, modernized set of regulations that promote good business and fair play.
Lastly, it was my goal to avoid caps on TNCs, which I do not support on principle. However as a short-term measure, I can support a reasonable, temporary cap. We helped negotiate a cap on the number of vehicles ‘live’ on the TNC system at any given time, which is more reasonable and more flexible than a cap on the number of drivers. And we helped negotiate a cap that, while lower than I would have liked, is temporary. I also believe, that after twelve months, it only makes sense to look at the data to determine the impacts of the TNCs on the industry and assess whether the temporary cap level needs adjustment. I would like to thank Councilmember Clark for supporting this approach, and I strongly encourage the full City Council to include this 12-month review when it considers the legislation at its meeting on March 10th.”
For more information on the work that’s been done by the City Council on this issue, please visit the Council website.