Twice this past weekend for-hire drivers swooped and stole fares rightfully (and legally) mine. I didn't like it and I know all you fellow drivers can sympathize. It is clear that the for-hire industry have not toned down their thievery. Does anyone out there, including for-hire drivers, think it is going to stop? I know there has to be other legal responses that the City of Seattle can take other than the weak enforcement measures that is its current approach. It is only a matter of will. As far as I know Seattle's Prosecuting Attorney is looking into incorporating local police enforcement but clearly that won't be enough. It just isn't the answer. The only approach worth considering is the actual SUSPENSION OR RESCINDING of the physical for-hire license allowing individuals to operate their cars on the streets of Seattle. Nothing short of that will get their attention. Believe me, just have one license taken away permanently and I assure you that you would see 100 PERCENT COMPLIANCE. That is all it will take. Make an example and all of the others will follow suit.
Currently they know they have a tacit permission to keep picking up off of the streets whether in the cover of night or in the light of day. They are not worried about consequences. Some percentage of the mayor's office appear to be active supporters. They also appear to have allies at the City Council itself. This will not do. We in the local taxi industry cannot find this situation sustainable. The demand study is only a ploy delaying what I believe will be an inevitable outcome: the sanctioning of the for-hire industry, allowing them partial or complete taxi status.
Sitting on that city council panel I clearly saw the direction the three council members are heading. One of the primary reasons they are taking the side of the for-hire industry is because we, meaning the taxi industry, are neither liked nor respected. Their attitude is reflected in what we see occurring on the streets. Don't be fooled for a moment that the representatives at the council and the mayor's office are our friends. They clearly are not. Given that, I am calling their bluff poker-style and presenting a draft of a letter to the for-hire industry that they, the City & the City Council MUST write themselves. If a letter outlining what I am saying is not written, then it is clear we have to quickly take actions to communicate our displeasure. We will have no other option.
Dear For-Hire License Holder,
We are writing to inform you that the picking up of passengers without a prearranged appointment will no longer be tolerated. We have seen clear evidence that the for-hire industry are flaunting the rules under which the industry have been mandated and created. You know there can be no exception to your prescribed business model. Illegal behavior will result in the strictest consequences. You can only pick up passengers that have called you before hand and are registered on your daily log. Any other type of pick-up will be considered a violation and will result in the following penalties.
Any verified illegal passenger pick-up will result in the immediate suspension of your for-hire vehicle license.
Upon further investigation it is determined you have violated your operating agreement multiple times your for-hire vehicle license will be permanently revoked and taken back by the City of Seattle. There will not any new considerations and you will be permanently barred from owning any future taxi or for-hire vehicle licenses. You will be held liable for any and all relevant fines and fees.
This regulatory enforcement begins 30 days henceforward.
The City of Seattle
See how simple that is. If you violate the rules you either temporarily have your vehicle license suspended or worst, permanently revoked, taken away. If the City of Seattle sends a similar letter written in the proper legalise I know all of the improper pick-ups will stop instantaneously. The taxi industry wants the illegal for-hire activity to stop now. The City of Seattle, like a teenager's parent, hold the keys. All the City of Seattle has to say is no, no more dates for you. Over and done!
Now that this draft is known, I will be waiting for the real letter to be written. I wonder how long it will take? The placating of thieves must end, and end now!