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Council News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   
8/11/2008  3:08:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Monica Ghosh, Godden Office (206) 684-8807

Councilmember Jean Godden
Council President Richard Conlin
Councilmember Richard McIver

CITY COUNCIL PASSES TAXICAB REFORMS
Legislation will Improve Customer Service; Require Greener Taxicabs

SEATTLE Today, the City Council passed Council Bill 116210 improving customer service for taxicab users and requiring the taxi industry to invest in environmentally sensitive green cabs in the future.

The provision of more cabs will reduce wait times for taxicab patrons, said Councilmember Jean Godden, Chair of the Finance and Budget Committee. It is essential that we begin to retire cabs that contribute to global warming. This legislation will do just that, requiring new cabs to get 30 miles to the gallon by 2013. It is a much needed step towards a more sustainable city. Godden said.

The legislation also includes provisions that will:

  • Increase the number of taxicab licenses from 667 to 850 within the city of Seattle with up to 35 new licenses issued per year and with provisions for more handicapped accessible taxis;
  • Require issuance of licenses to individuals who must then drive a minimum of 30 hours a week, 40 weeks a year, for 5 years or more before the license may be sold or transferred;
  • Establish lease caps to help achieve greater equity and fairness between the drivers who lease taxicabs and the owners who hold the licenses;
  • Mandate City Council review of the legislation after two years or once 50 new licenses are released.

Council President Richard Conlin said, The taxi industry provides jobs for many new immigrants to Seattle. This legislation makes sure these new Americans are treated fairly. Councilmember Richard McIver said, Seattles continuing economic health depends on the private sector and government finding a way to work together to achieve better results. This new law is a fine example of a public/private partnership.

A companion bill passed by the City Council on July 7, 2008 addressed the ripple effects of high gasoline costs by adjusting taxicab rates in Seattle. Both bills are intended to improve the taxi industry to better serve customers.

The legislation is available through the City Clerks Office at (206) 684-8344 or on the clerks website by typing in Council Bill numbers 116210 and 116208 respectively.

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