Won't You Be My Driver?
Rideshare companies began popping up in Seattle in 2012, simultaneously exciting customers and enraging competition. And with new regulations taking effect this summer, Seattle has become one of the first cities to address the controversy head on.
What exactly is ridesharing?
Basically it’s the chic new way for carless riders to get around. The most prominent companies, Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar, provide smartphone apps for requesting rides (hailing the closest car digitally), rating drivers, and paying for the transaction. Drivers need only be company approved, with a driver’s license and insured vehicle, and they get to keep as much as 95 percent of their fares. Carsharing services, like Car2go, are a bit different, with available cars all over the city for members to jump in and drive themselves.
Taxi companies can’t be happy about this.
Nope, and their main beef with ridesharing—other than that it takes away their customers—stemmed from the fact that it was unregulated. Specifically, rideshare drivers did not have to have a taxi license or pay for commercial insurance.
Wait, I think I remember the city council addressing this earlier this year.
It did. Sort of. In March the council passed a bill that: caps the number of rideshare drivers on the road at any given time, for each company, at 150; requires the companies to meet state insurance requirements; and allows 200 more taxi licenses to be issued over the next two years.