Seattle officials ponder regulations with new smartphone ride companies

Seattle officials ponder regulations with new smartphone ride companies
SEATTLE -- Next time you need a ride around town, you'll notice there are scores of new options -- not just a taxicab.

There's Lyft, Uber, Sidecar and more -- all based from smartphone apps. But now the city of Seattle is wondering if they should pay fees like taxi cabs?

Teresa Lynch is a part-time driver with Lyft -- easy to spot with the car's trademark pink mustache.

"I am ready to tell you all about Lyft and how much I love it and it's the best thing!" she said.

It's not a taxicab but it is a business. She and her car get heavily checked out by Lyft, which adds $1 million insurance coverage. The company is smartphone based -- just sign up and ping for a lower-cost ride.

John Zimmer, the co-founder of Lyft, says he's wary of regulation.

"Anything that is done with this industry, we have to be careful that we're not hurting the possibility of, you know, this future of better, more efficient transportation," Zimmer said.

The city of Seattle is reviewing how it regulates taxis, cars for hire and all the new players, focusing on safety, pricing and treatment of drivers.

"We're definitely in a market that is changing very quickly," said Seattle City Council President Sally Clark. "There are new actors in the market that you would not have seen a year ago and that is really challenging for us because we have a system that is predicated on what how a taxi has historically operated."

Whether the city regulates and, if so, how much, will impact jobs, big corporate investments, and how we get around in the city of the future.

Lyft announced Wednesday it has $60 million in new funding from a top venture capital firm. And Uber has it's own big-time backing in Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos.