Seattle taxicab drivers take to City Hall to air their grievances

Seattle taxicab drivers take to City Hall to air their grievances
SEATTLE -- Angry taxicab drivers and owners delivered a petition to Seattle City Hall on Monday demanding the city crack down on their illegal competition.

Seattle taxicab drivers are angry that taxicab look-a-likes -- called for-hire cars -- are illegally picking up passengers in the city.

For-hire cars don't have meters and are only allowed to drive customers who call in advance, but many drivers are breaking the rules.

The taxicab drivers made themselves heard Monday as they delivered a petition with more than 500 signatures to Mayor Mike McGinn's office.

"I'm happy to take the petitions from you and deliver them to the mayor, and I know that he's interested in hearing from you on this issue," said David Hiller with the mayor's office.

The battle between taxicab and for-hire drives has been going on for some time.

The city only issues a certain number of lucrative taxi licenses, and drivers say the for-hire cars are stealing their business. They want the city to do a better job enforcing the law.

"Make sure that they all follow the rule of law. That's the way America is set up. We don't want people running around creating a mess," said Salah Mohamed with the Taxicab Leadership Council.

In addition to for-hire cars, taxicab drivers are unhappy about a group of other ride-share startups like Lyft, which is neither a taxicab nor a for-hire car.

For-hire drivers say they shouldn't be chastised for picking up fares from the sidewalk because town cars are also doing it.

The city is in the process of reviewing all its regulations about what's called the personal passenger business.