Creative app shut down by Washington regulators would be ‘good for everybody’
Washington-based company Dolly is currently at odds with the state government, after being shut down by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (WUTC).
Dolly’s app essentially functions as Uber for moving, allowing users to reserve a mover, and have them come to your house in their own vehicle to help move furniture from “Point A” to “Point B.” That’s at odds with state law, though, since Dolly doesn’t operate its own fleet of vehicles, or employ its own full-time movers.
That means despite operating in places like Portland, San Diego, Denver, Chicago, and Boston, the company isn’t legally allowed to operate in the very state it’s based out of.
“This is a really cool service, and here comes the government of Washington state to clamp down on all the fun,” joked KIRO Nights co-host Aaron Mason.
The battle began in 2018, when the WUTC classified Dolly as a household goods carrier, requiring specific permits and licensing that more traditional moving companies have to adhere to. Dolly applied for those permits and was subsequently denied, first by the WUTC, and then by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.
That’s spurred a conflict similar to the one Lyft and Uber went through in their early days, when rideshare services started to overtake taxis. All in all, Mason argues, it’s just another example of technology out-pacing lawmakers.
“Technology and industry is moving so much faster than government, and our rules and regulations are having a hard time keeping up,” he pointed out.
Still, it also provides a creative source of revenue for someone who perhaps doesn’t want to work as a professional mover, but still wants to make a little bit of money on the side.
“It’s good for everybody — it’s the gig economy we live in,” Mason noted.
In the days ahead, it’s unclear how this legal tug-of-war will end. In the meantime, MyNorthwest writer Chason Gordon — filling in as KIRO Nights co-host Wednesday night — had one creative idea.
“I’m going to ask Jay Inslee to help me move, then he’ll change his opinion on this,” he proposed.