Did you know, since Uber and Lyft came into Seattle, DUIs have gone down 10 percent? That’s not a coincidence. There are an awful lot of people – especially kids in their 20s who don’t have a lot of extra money – who make good decisions to not drink and drive because Uber and Lyft are affordable options.
“The bottom line is that DUIs have decreased by 10 percent since Uber and Lyft came to Seattle,” Uber driver Lynn Reed said on my show. “I really fear that that will reverse itself if these rates are doubled by the city council.”
This week, the Seattle City Council voted to move forward with a plan to collect data on rideshare companies. They ultimately want to force rideshare rates to rise to the level of taxis. This could bring rates up to $2.40 per mile, nearly doubling the current cost of Uber for riders in Seattle city limits.
Why? The Teamsters union that represents taxi drivers makes campaign donations to the Seattle City Council. Uber and Lyft came up with a superior platform and were able to offer a better service at a lower price than taxis. Forcing Uber and Lyft to double their fares is unprecedented – no other city in the country has done this.
And locals have spoken, too. A petition was signed by more than 21,000 people asking the city to leave Uber alone. Drivers have also publicly spoken in council chambers to protest the council’s goal.
“We were really disappointed that with all the drivers who came to testify in person and this massive amount of signatures, that the city council just ignored all input and went with their personal agenda,” Reed said. “Raising the fares to nearly double will have a catastrophic impact on the … rideshare business in Seattle.”
“It’s actually mind-boggling … I wish that people could see through this for what it is … We feel demeaned and we definitely feel not heard,” she said. “It just feels like it’s all falling on deaf ears.”
Rideshare in Seattle and DUIs
I got an email from a young woman in Green Lake who sent a letter to Seattle City Council President Bruce Harrell. I don’t know the man looks himself in the mirror with this whole Uber decision. In her letter, the 24-year-old woman writes, “Uber and Lyft provide a safe and affordable drive home if alcoholic beverages are consumed, while protecting innocent drivers on the road who have not consumed any beverages … I feel incredibly strong that this [regulation] will only hurt our community.”
I have absolutely no doubt that people are going to die. The fact that the city council is willing to do that is disgusting to me. Bruce Harrell — you’re going to have blood on your hands. This is going to be your responsibility if drunk driving increases, all because the Teamsters union filled your coffers.
DUIs are down 10 percent since these companies came to town. The labor unions have bought and paid for the Seattle City Council. And the fact that council members are willing to accept people dying so that they can be a protection racket for the Teamsters union is disgusting. We have truly reprehensible people on the city council. They want to try to kill off a pair of companies that have revolutionized the transportation industry.
Bruce Harrell, Kshama Sawant — when people die, you’re going to have to live with the consequences. Sawant, you always talk about how you care about the people, how you care about how expensive it is in Seattle. And your solution is to raise the prices of Uber and Lyft? There are people in the lowest-income neighborhoods who are not in walking distance of a bus or a train line. You know how they get to public transit? They take Uber or Lyft. Those are the people people whom you claim to care about – in reality, you really couldn’t care less about them.
“Now that their rates just doubled, they’re going to have a really hard time affording that transportation,” Reed said.