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Uber, Lyft: Time to take a seat at the bargaining table

Dear Uber, Lyft & Sidecar,

The Seattle City Council made the right choice last week by delaying the vote on capping the number of “Transportation Network Company” drivers who will be allowed to operate in Seattle once their new legislation goes into effect. Now the onus is on you to come to the table and negotiate with the council in good faith; to help them come up with a new policy that works for everyone.

I don’t have a dog in the fight about ridesharing/Transportation Network Companies in Seattle. I’ve never used Lyft or Sidecar, and a quick Gmail search tells me that I’ve used Uber about once a month over the course of the last year, which is probably about as often as I’ve taken taxis in Seattle.

I emailed a similar message to this one to the City Council last Thursday night asking them to delay the vote. (Though it turns out that Council President Sally Clark had already announced on Facebook she would be doing just that.)

The reason for both messages is the same: I very much have a dog in the fight to make Seattle the best, most livable place it can be, and an important part of that for me involves making it as easy as possible for people from all walks of life to get around the city quickly, reliably and affordably.

I think both of your companies represent very positive trends in local mobility, so I want to see you thrive in Seattle rather than forced to leave the Seattle market for business reasons.

I also know, however, that there are very good people at City Council; people I know and trust, who really want to engage with you around the issue of driver caps.They are people who really want to find a solution that works for everyone, but who haven’t been able to do so up until this point.

I’m not going to pretend that I know what the answer is, but I do know that there’s no good reason we can't reach a compromise that preserves the public benefit your companies offer the residents of Seattle while sticking to our city’s social justice values.

The City Council has shown that they’re willing to come to the table in good faith. Now it’s your turn. Please, on behalf of all of the Seattleites who love the services you provide and want to continue to give you our money in exchange, take advantage of this opportunity over the course of the next two weeks. Engage meaningfully with the Seattle city council to find a solution that works for both of you, and all of us, before it’s too late.

Your customer,

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