Seattle has grown tremendously since 1990 when the last regular taxi license was issued, and with as many as 450 of the current 688 taxis in the city obligated to the airport year-round or the cruise terminal and other tourist venues much of the time, no wonder people say "you can’t find a taxi in Seattle." It seems obvious to everyone, but the City of Seattle, that the same number of taxis it had in 1990, cannot meet the much greater demand today. The other result of not issuing licenses for this long has made a regular taxi license acquired for a few thousand dollars 20 years ago worth $360000.
As the 195 city licensed For Hire vehicles, we are small, local businesses caught in the middle. We can immediately serve the pent-up taxi demand, but current regulations keep us from picking up anyone hailing a ride on a city street. In the county, For Hires pick up hailing passengers, whether from hotels or patrons emerging from bars and other nightspots. Our For Hire cars are regulated exactly the same way as taxis, have the same safety inspections and all our owners and drivers pay the same fees as taxis. We are safe, insured, inspected, and eighty percent of the For Hire fleet is hybrid or compressed natural gas-powered. Given all of the positives of the For Hire fleet, the city’s restrictions limit us to about 20% of the business.
Seattle needs more reliable and timely taxi service. Please give For Hire Vehicles hailing rights in the city for the benefit of consumers, businesses, and the city of Seattle.