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Council looks to tap the brakes on Seattle ride-sharing

September 29, 2013 J

Ride-share drivers using apps like Lyft, Sidecar and UberX to connect with passengers could soon face new city-imposed licensing and vehicle inspection requirements, if the City Council adopts regulations similar to the ones they discussed at a committee meeting on Thursday.

The council’s central staff will work to draft new “near-term” regulations over the next four weeks. If approved, the rules could also set minimum liability insurance requirements for the companies that run the apps. The prospect of limited regulation did little to placate the providers of traditional taxi and for-hire car services, who say their new competitors are getting a free pass from the city.

At the meeting, representatives from the council’s central staff and the Department of Finance and Administrative Services presented the council members with two near-term options for regulating ride-shares and three long-term options for regulating all of the city’s “taxi-like vehicles.” One of the near-term options would’ve completely stopped ride-sharing in the city, the other, which the council favored, allows it to continue with new restrictions. The council asked for near-term options because the full-fledged revision of the city’s taxi-like vehicle regulations, which the council is currently debating, will take months to craft and approve.

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