A Teamsters Union member shows his solidarity for Seattle taxi drivers staging a protest Monday against unlicensed ride-sharing companies. (KIRO Radio/Tim Haeck)

Seattle cabbies protest smart-phone, ride-sharing upstarts

Taxi drivers are upset about unlicensed ride-sharing companies in Seattle that they claim are undercutting their legal businesses.

Horns blaring, cabbies conducted a noisy protest outside city hall Monday afternoon and briefly clogged 4th Avenue.

The taxi drivers claim that the ride-sharing operations like Lyft, where customers can summon a ride by using a smart-phone application, are undercutting their businesses.

"These guys don't have business licenses, the drivers, they don't have proper insurance, they're doing a tremendous bite into out business and undercutting our rates, that are regulated by the city and undercutting the safety of the public," complained Mike Judd, who owns a Yellow Cab.

But one independent driver who showed up said that's not the reason the cabbies are upset.

"The city has not issued a taxi license for over 23 years," said Samatar Guled. "That is the real story and these guys they want to protect that monopoly."

The City Council is conducting a customer survey this summer before considering any changes in taxi regulations.

A delegation of cab drivers marched to the mayor's office to deliver a petition calling on the city to enforce the taxi rules that are on the books.

Tim Haeck, KIRO Radio Reporter
Tim Haeck is a news reporter with KIRO Radio. While Tim is one of our go-to, no-nonsense reporters, he also has a sensationally dry sense of humor and it will surprise some to learn he is a weekend warrior.
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