Seattle city council legalizes Uber, Lyft, Sidecar without caps

Previously there were limits on the number of cars allowed on the road

Uber's mobile app.

Uber's mobile app.

Seattle city council members voted Monday to legalize ride-hailing apps like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, despite concerns from one council member about the adequacy of insurance coverage provided by the companies.

The council voted 8-1 in favor of legislation that would create a new regulatory framework for the companies, which the city calls "transportation network companies."

In March, Seattle approved laws putting a cap on the number of vehicles that TNCs could operate on the road at any one time. But that ordinance was subsequently suspended, with Mayor Ed Murray bringing together the industry, including traditional taxi operators, and legislators, to reach a deal.

Monday's vote paves the way for ride-summoning apps to operate in the city without caps. Council members generally agreed that their services were important for helping to bring new transportation options to the city.

"I'm interested in seeing how this legislation helps this city become a better city," said council member Bruce Harrell.

Council member Mike O'Brien, the sole dissenting voter, said issues around safety and insurance still need to be worked out. His amendment, which would have required startups to offer exclusive insurance coverage at all times, failed to pass. Uber, Lyft and Sidecar recently expanded their insurance policies, but only during the periods between rides.

O'Brien argued that wasn't enough and said there is still confusion about when drivers' personal insurance kicks in, if ever.

"There are still lots of problems with this," he said at the hearing. "It's not a question of whether Uber and Lyft can afford to innovate. The question is, 'Do we ask them to provide coverage at their expense, or do we put people at risk?'"

Regulators' response to new ride-summoning services is a perennial challenge as they enter new cities. Lyft last week had planned to launch in New York City, but regulators there moved to block it. Those plans are now in flux as Lyft tries to adjust its service to comply with local laws.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileinternetlegalInternet-based applications and servicesUberSideCarLyft

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Zach Miners

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Brother MFC-L3745CDW Colour Laser Multifunction

Learn more >

Mobile

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?