Today at Ten this morning myself and taxi buddies Dawit and Hassan met with Jesse, one of Sally Clark's legislative aides. I had been hopeful that some council members would be in attendance but the city council is currently in recess, meaning no one was available to extensively discuss all issues taxi. We had a good talk but it was mostly a rehashing of past topics. I told Jesse that these were my current primary concerns and themes:
1) That we do everything we can to avoid litigation. I suggested two courses that would assist. Concerning the for-hire situation I feel some kind of warning, a kind of cease and desist should be sent to all of the for-hire owners requesting they immediately stop their illegal street activity. Non-compliance would result in an immediate suspension of operating licenses.
A similar letter should be sent to Lyft and Sidecar announcing any further operation on Seattle streets would result in the impounding of all of those non-inspected cars. As far as I understand it, these ride services are liable for criminal misdemeanors. It might be time for the City of Seattle to toughen its enforcement policies.
Given that the City of Seattle has the authority to do this, it would be a simple matter to ensure compliance. I guarantee you these actions would immediately put a stop
to the problems the taxi industry have been facing. I know I would be satisfied, feeling
a class-action suit unnecessary. If the City of Seattle decides not to do this, there must be a questioning of its motivations and sincerity and why its own rules and laws are not being enforced. Compliance cannot be random. Being the governing civil authority, the City of Seattle has the legal responsibility to protect ALL of its residents. Nothing could be clearer.
2) That the local taxi industry be recognized as the completely independent and autonomous entity it is, something not be mixed up or confused with competing services. Currently it seems they have categorized taxis and other similar services as equal and equivalent. This is not acceptable.
Demand Audit Presentation
Cooper and Mundy are now scheduled to make their City Council presentation on Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013 at 5:30 PM.
Matt Driscoll's Article
I highly recommend Matt Driscoll's taxi-related article in The Seattle Weekly's August 21st-27th, Volume 38, number 34 issue, entitled "Tale of Two Rides:Fair Share." It is also available on-line. It is well researched and thoroughly examines current issues facing the taxi industry. There are more pretty pictures in the paper edition.