The Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association is under attack from Uber, a rideshare and unlicensed taxicab service runing in Seattle as well as 44 other cities in North America and 30 countries worldwide. Recently, the Operators Association filed a business lawsuit against the app-based transportation company in the Seattle and King County area for violating state, city, and county laws regarding taxicab drivers.
Uber Not following Laws and Standard Business Planning in Seattle
In Washington State and King County, there are rules that taxicab services must follow in order to operate a legitimate taxi business. If any taxi does not have the proper licenses or equipment installed in their vehicles, the driver can be fined up to $1,000 or be sentenced to 90 days in jail. According to the laws in King County and Washington State, all taxicabs must have
- Fare meters
- Silent Alarms
- Security cameras
- GPS systems
- Fare lists approved by the county and state
Though earlier in March the Seattle City Council voted to regulate rideshare companies like Uber as well as similar companies such as Sidecar and Lyft, these companies are still in operation making it difficult for cabdrivers to do their jobs and make a living.
What Is Included in the Lawsuit?
Business lawyers in Seattle from Schwerin Campbell Barnard Iglitzin & Lavitt LLP are representing the Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association in the suit. The Operators Association says companies like Uber are harming the public interest while claiming that the company “exempts itself from any duty to provide fair and equal service.”
The suit also points out that the public is in danger from these unlicensed taxicab companies because the drivers don’t follow the standard practices and laws of taxicab companies. Drivers fail to obtain proper licenses, insurance, and training.
The lawsuit also states Uber is not even an in-state company. Parent company Uber and other services, which include UberX and UberBlack, are based in San Francisco. The lawsuit filed by the Operators Association primarily focuses on UberX, which caters to everyday passengers who would normally take taxis.
The Western Washington Taxi Cab Operators Association is asking for compensation that will equal the fares and tips the association has lost to Uber. This, in addition to exemplary damages the association is also seeking, equals three times the amount of tips and fares lost to Uber.
In addition to Washington State and King County, taxi drivers in Chicago are suing the city over Uber’s influences as well. Uber released a statement for the Washington suit saying they will continue to uphold small businesses and remain “focused on connecting people with the safest and most reliable transportation options in Seattle.” Business litigation lawyers in Seattle continue to fight for the Operators Association’s rights.