Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has announced a new way forward for car services.
Murray said a new agreement has been reached that does not cap the number of people who drive for Uber X, Lyft and other similar rideshare companies.
“It just was something that folks wanted. Because they want to move around without owning cars. And that’s one of the ways we meet one of our incredible important goals around the environment and around transportation,” Murray said. “So that’s why I believe it needed to go away.”
Rideshare companies allow riders to book rides through smartphone apps.
They’re currently not regulated by the city. And that has upset traditional car service businesses, which argued the new companies had an unfair advantage.
The mayor’s plan comes out of closed door negotiations between the different sides. As part of the plan, the city would issue 200 more taxi cab licenses, something long requested by the taxi industry. And for the first time, “for hire” companies would be allowed to pick up riders who hail them from the street.
The new plan is different from a set regulations that were passed by the City Council earlier this year. Those regulations are being challenged by a ballot measure put forth by the rideshare companies.
Murray wants the City Council to repeal their regulations and consider his plan instead. If that happens, he said the ballot measure would be dead because the City Council rules would not exist any longer.
The mayor’s office said this new agreement will be sent to the council in the coming weeks.