Saturday, January 2, 2021

A January 1st Surprise---Seattle Uber Rates Matching Taxis? & Friendless And Abandoned: Seattle's Taxi Industry Dangling In The Bureaucratic Wind

Along with exploding firecrackers and clangorous church bells ringing in the year 2021, we had the City of Seattle's mandated voices shrilly chiming in, announcing that Uber drivers have additional reasons to rejoice this holiday season, with a 25% rate increase at midnight's toll January 1st, with another 25% coming in April.  Along with those goodies sitting beneath the post-Christmas tree, Uber drivers will also unwrap five guaranteed sick days and a $5.00 cancellation fee, all I'm sure bringing a big smile to the Uber kids, not mattering if they were naughty or nice.   The silver lining for Seattle and King County Cabbies is that newly estimated fares now come close to matching or surpassing current taxi fares, translating into a more equal fare environment, removing the excuse often given that Uber is cheaper.  

Well, it ain't no more, and thank goodness for that, something good coming from the bad, repairing just a little the damage done when Seattle and King County opened the TNC/ride-share floodgates, 28,000 plus operators inundating area streets.  Why were Uber and Lyft drivers starving?  Too many folks crowding a limited market the simple answer to a question never properly asked, the obvious ignored by local decision makers interested in misplaced compassion instead of using commonsense to address an artificially created issue.  Could Teamsters 117 have had something to do with the final outcome, having latched onto all those potential due payers?  No, no, the Teamsters wouldn't do that, jilting their taxi bride at the regulatory altar for a prettier face.  Perish the thought! 


The sad reality is that by playing favorites, the City of Seattle has effectively abandoned an one-hundred year old industry.  What guarantees were announced for taxis this new year?  None, none whatsoever.  No sick days, no new $16.69 minimum wage or the Uber gross hourly guarantee of over $30.00 per hour.  We don't even get to use the lower West Seattle Bridge to pick up our account customers without getting cited.  If we had Christmas stockings, they would be filled with coal and nothing else.  Adding further insult, not only were we forgotten, we were never remembered, a distant memory lost in too many back pages.  Merry Christmas, cabbies!  Ha Ha Ha!

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