This is a huge blow for ride-sharing startups in Seattle.
The City Council of Seattle voted today to severely limit ride-sharing services, including UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar, according to a report from the Silicon Valley Business Journal. The preliminary ruling, which is not final and will be voted on again on March 10, requires ride-sharing startups to have no more than 150 drivers on the road at a time, per service.
According to Brooke Steger, Uber’s general manager in Seattle, this decision effectively shuts down Uber’s lower-cost UberX service in the city:
“It is extremely disappointing that the Seattle City Council Committee on Taxi, For-hire and Limousine Regulations has chosen to ignore the tens of thousands of their constituents who support UberX and, instead, decided it is a good policy to protect the taxi industry and effectively shut down UberX in Seattle as we know it. This decision will put hundreds of small businesses out of work and leave them without an opportunity to earn a living,” said Steger via email to VentureBeat.
A Lyft spokesperson provided VentureBeat with a similar statement:
“By passing an ordinance that does not prioritize public safety or support consumer choice, members of Seattle’s City Council have shown that their sole intent is to eliminate competition and protect existing industries in Seattle. This ordinance attempts to shut down Lyft in Seattle. … Despite today’s disappointing decision, we will continue to stand strong as a community and do everything possible to ensure a path forward that allows Lyft to thrive in Seattle.”
It’s noteworthy that Uber is facing scrutiny over its marketing tactics in Seattle. The company has aggressively campaigned against this particular City Council proposal since December of last year.
Sidecar did not immediately respond to VentureBeat’s emails.