Friday, February 28, 2014

A Quick Review of Thursday's 02/27/2014 Seattle City Council Meeting :"Did we win?"

Afterwards, walking down to the ferry terminal with an industry colleague, who like me, had stayed for the full three plus hours, asked "Did we win?  I responded that I would have to think about it.  My conclusion nearly 21 hours later is that I don't know. 

A cap of 150 drivers/cars was applied to each ride-share (TNC) company, which means either an additional 450 or 600 permanently added to the transportation mix, depending how you define Uber-X.  What is troubling, at least so far, is that it appears that the window is open for unlimited ride-share companies to enter the Seattle market.  Hopefully that loophole will be closed, a loophole at least as big as Mount Rainier is tall.  Look to Monday March 10th, 2014 for the final resolution and vote.

And while many of my taxi friends and colleagues felt some kind of ride-share cap was a victory, I remain convinced it is an unwarranted and unjustified intrusion into our regulated business sphere. We are also looking at two hundred plus for-hire vehicles being allowed to function as taxis.  I personally feel that this conversation will not be ending March 10th, but unfortunately extending far into the future.  As I have been telling and asking all of my fellow drivers, will you be willing to commit a set monetary amount each month to assure that this conversation continues?  Right now all of this is theoretical but come March 10th I believe important decisions will have to be made.

I think for me perhaps the most important moment of the day occurred after all of the network television cameras had scurried away to meet their deadlines.  A second round of public commentary was allowed, and the testimony of a young female Lyft driver got everyone's attention. 

While first saying she was glad that she could get a job "without any training!" allowing her to make $25.00 a hour, her tenor suddenly changing, the young woman now instanteously emotional, saying how she received a lower driver rating because she hadn't "fist-pumped" her customers.

She left the podium nearly crying, seemingly pleading to be helped, leaving behind the clear impression that she had been ill-served by Lyft, perhaps opening a curtain behind their actual and real operations.  The council members, quite taken aback by what they were hearing, plan on talking further with her.  Now that should be an interesting conversation.

Hey, maybe it would educational for the Seattle Times editorial staff to buy her a cup of coffee.  Who knows what they might learn?


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