Ride Share ordinance suspended by over 36,000 signatures

April 17 -- The Coalition to Repeal Ride Restrictions submitted over 36,000 voter signatures that called for a referendum on the recent city ordinance that limited access for ride companies like Lyft, Sidecar and Uber.

Back in March the City Council set an ordinance that had a 150 cap on active vehicles and other regulation like safety and insurance requirements. Councilwoman Sally Clark led a committee that spent 11 months coming up with the suspended regulation.

The 36,000 were more than double the number of voter signatures required to qualify the referendum for the ballot.

Under the Seattle City Charter a mere 16,510 registered voter signatures (eight percent of the total number of votes cast in the last mayoral election) are necessary to be eligible for a citizens’ referendum for the ballot.

“Clearly a mobile app service are are widely popular in the city and and important transportation option for citizens and visitors. It speaks volumes we were able to turn twice as many signatures in. They are important options and clearly Seattle citizens want to have a discussion on mobile app services,” said Brad Harwood, spokesperson for Seattle Coalition to Repeal Ride Restrictions.

Mobile app ride service companies said the ordinance severely limits their ability to continue providing service in Seattle, and at the same time reduced transportation choices for citizens.

“Major ride share companies in Seattle like Uber and Side Car have been very upfront about saying the ordinance would make it difficult to operate in Seattle," said Harwood.

Mayor Ed Murray said with the ordinance suspended, ride service providers have agreed to enter "a 45-day negotiation process to work toward a proposal that is acceptable to all the stakeholders and to the City Council.”

“During the good faith negotiations process, my office will work with the Department of Finance and Administrative Services to develop the enforcement protocols that the City will ultimately implement,” said Murray.

Any new resolution has a chance to go before the City Council and be ratified. Last March, the council had a 5-4 majority for ride share regulation.

“At the same time we respect the need for policies and look forward to working with the mayor to come up with solutions, “said Harwood.

“I think it’s important for consumers to have options in services, and I think competition is healthy,” said Greenwood resident, Erin Downey.

Downey started choosing ride share services over cabs because of the convenience the apps provide and basic service.

“It’s really easy. I just pull it up on my phone. I tell them where I’m at, and it’s all taken care of – the tip, the payment. It’s great. Some cabs only want to take cash, and when I use the app I don’t have to worry about it,” said Downey.

Downey, 33, is among an age group that has a preference for ride share services.

In 2013 the City and County did a survey on taxi and ride share services demand called “City of Seattle and King County Taxi, For Hire Vehicle and Limousine Services Demand Study.” In the report there was a survey that revealed almost 60 percent of rideshare users were ages 21-34. However, taxi cabs were the most wide spread service used across demographics.

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