On Other Blogs Today
On Other Blogs Today: Ridesharing Edition
Our daily roundup.
The city council may have had its official say on "ridesharing" or "transportation network company" services like Uber and Lyft (last night, they adopted compromise legislation that limits the number of drivers who can be active on any one TNC at one time, but doesn't limit the number of folks who can sign up to drive), but that certainly hasn't stopped the two sides from rehashing the contentious debate on their blogs.
In the corner of the four-member council contingent that wanted to limit the number of people who could drive for all TNCs combined to 400, council member Mike O'Brien wrote:
My goal is great customer experience, not an unreasonable limit on cars and drivers available for hire. But I also don’t want hundreds of excess drivers on the road cutting corners to try to make a buck and no one able to make a decent living other than the corporations. If we institute TNC caps and find that we need to raise the number either during or after the pilot is complete, I am prepared to do that swiftly. Once we get actual data from Lyft or Über (or their successors), we will be much better poised to make comprehensive policy decisions. Until then, I do believe this is the most prudent course forward.
Competition between taxis and TNCs will improve conditions for drivers and passengers. The current taxi experience in Seattle receives mediocre to dismal customer reviews in Seattle (pages 35-37). TNC passengers report better customer service, including response time and vehicle quality and driver courtesy. There is accountability with passengers being able to rate each ride, which does not currently happen with traditional taxi services. ...
I do not believe a cap at 150 active drivers per company would force UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar from discontinuing operations in Seattle. If the TNC operations are at risk it would be helpful for the TNC companies to share their data with us to show us why they will not be able to operate. Their refusal to share this information has frustrated some Councilmembers, and that, I believe was reflected in yesterday’s discussion and vote.
If there's one thing everyone on all (three) sides of this debate agrees on, it's that the TNCs need to provide the city with data about how many drivers and cars they actually have in their systems. Sally Clark, who advocated for the compromise that was ultimately adopted, made the same case when we talked to her earlier today.