Today the Seattle City Council held yet another hearing regarding their pending legislation regarding taxi cabs and for-hires and the transportation network companies (TNC), or which heretofore were more commonly referred to as ride-share services. What they are proposing will effectively inundate the taxi market with as many TNC cars as any billionaire seems fit. They are proposing that anyone can create a maximum100 car TNC company through a pilot program expiring Dec 31st, 2015. Given there is no limitation of how many individual TNC companies that can be formed we are looking at the possibility of an unlimited number of quasi-taxis being added to the market. Knowing how rabbits breed, we will soon be overrun.
Along with this is a list of easily met insurance and other requirements which essentially translates into the deregulation of the taxi industry. Why would anyone want to keep operating expensive taxis when instead all you need to do is rig together a minimum of 15 cars and you are in business minus any real capital outlay?
Amazingly their justification is the extremely flawed Cooper/Mundy demand study. I told the council today that they needed additional evidence but I am doubtful if they are interested in understanding taxi reality as it is and not how they are imagining it. Like mad scientists they are bent on blowing up the laboratory.
The potential consequences if this TNC proposal goes through are dire. You have read it here first. We in the Seattle and King County taxi industry are facing a life or death dilemma. How we respond to this threat in the next two to three months will determine our fate for years to come. This new TNC is nonsensical. We are in serious trouble.
My advice is to contact everyone you can think of, the new mayor, individual city council members, the City of Seattle's Attorney's Office. Start contacting and start complaining before it is too late. Our window of opportunity is very small. The time to respond is now before tomorrow disappears forever.