Yellow Cab

Yellow Cab by AntyDiluvian on Flickr

By an 8-1 vote, the Seattle City Council formally approved new regulations on transportation network companies, such as Uber and Lyft, per the broad outlines of the agreement sketched out by Mayor Murray.  The “caps” that represented the bulk of the controversy have been repealed. Councilmember O’Brien was the lone “no” vote;  he explains his thinking here.  Get all the details at PubliCola and GeekWire.

It’s a new era for taxis in Seattle as well, including the introduction of transferable “medallions” that cab owners can treat as equity.  As I said previously, this is another solid win for Murray, who’s shown an ability to move legislation forward by assembling a broad coalition and giving everyone something in return.  He’s also shown a deftness at getting what he wants through the council by scrambling ideological fault lines.

14 Replies to “Council Formally Lifts Caps on TNCs”

  1. Totally off-topic, but what exactly changed with the blog? The comments looks slight different and there’s a new icon for the website.

    1. I noticed this as well. Maybe it’s better for tablet? Maybe it’s been shown to increase engagement?

      I wish the reporting requirements were more stringent. Pickups by zipcode is not granular enough — we should have precise locations for all trips. Moreover, it would be nice to know the price of each trip.

    2. Thanks for noticing! I’m upgrading the theme that powers it; some wonkiness in the transition.

  2. Why was the requirement for in-car cameras removed? I might have missed the reasoning in earlier posts. Just curious, as I feel like having security cameras in the cars is a no-brainer.

    1. I think that’s a good question, big-picture wise.

      ( Reference: )

      In the future, if the city council may feel it should something that’s similar to making a regulation that says “taxicabs licensed and operating within the City of Seattle must be equipped with passenger information decals, passenger information notices in Braille, digital security camera systems, and monitored silent alarm systems; and amending Section 6.310.320 of the Seattle Municipal Code.”

      But will the Seattle City folks be able to do the same thing with the new companies? Maybe things like Braille notices and silent alarms are truly the sort of expenses that should apply only to dinosaur business models. At least until some unforeseen accident, crime, or tragedy happens, anyway. With the inevitable lawsuit(s).

    2. In-car cameras exist, in large part, because taxi drivers carry significant amounts of cash and something has to be there to deter people from pointing a gun to driver’s head and stealing it all. Since all TNC transactions are done by credit card, drivers don’t carry any cash in the car whatsoever, and the thieves all know it.

  3. Aren’t transferable medallions a really bad idea? Everywhere I know that has them, cab supply is never increased because it would devalue the medallions already in circulation.

    1. Seattle city council doesn’t ever increase the amount of medallions in circulation anyway, so basically nothing will change.

  4. It’s pretty fascinating that they managed to get everyone except O’Brien for this. Having no insight into Seattle council politics whatsoever, I wonder if there’s some wider disagreement (personal, philosophical, etc.) between O’Brien and Murray.

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