Afternoon Jolt

Murray Set to Lift Cap on Rideshare Companies

Another big compromise and victory for Mayor Ed Murray.

By Josh Feit June 16, 2014

Earlier this month Mayor Ed Murray averted a contentious ballot war between business and labor (and city council member Kshama Sawant) by passing a compromise solution, hailed by the left, on the $15 minimum wage.

Watch for another political win for Murray—to be hailed by urbansits and share economy nerds—this afternoon, when the mayor, joined by representatives from Uber, the taxi industry, and for-hire services announces yet another agreement. This one will end the deadlock between those warring drivers by amending recent council legislation that had capped ridesharing and had sent Uber to the streets collecting signatures for a repeal.

As Fizz reported last week (learn to trust the Fizz!), Murray is set to announce a deal that: gets rid of caps on ridesharing companies—known by the clunky Wired magazine-style appellation as Transportation Network Companies; gives for-hire cars the right to pick up customers who flag them down (but not at taxi stands or hotels); and formalizes the idea that taxi licenses are property, which adds capital to the cab industry, giving them the ability to upgrade their fleets and services. (The deal will also grant 200 new city taxi licenses. Currently, there are 336 city-only taxi licenses, plus 352 joint city-county licenses.) The proposal will also add ten new taxi stands. 

We'll have more of the complicated specifics after the mayor's press conference today, but man, Murray is certainly making good on his campaign pledge to bring people together, work collaboratively, and get things done. 

He's also embarrassing the council on this one; their ridesharing cap legislation gave Seattle, of all places, the ignominious national reputation of rejecting the tech-driven style urbanism that's remaking the national economy.







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