Everett backs off new rules; Lyft and Uber resume operations

EVERETT — The city of Everett is putting off the enforcement of new rules for ride-share companies Lyft and Uber after both canceled service in town.

The city made public its decision Friday, about four hours after Uber made its announcement. Lyft shared word of a similar suspension on Thursday.

Lyft and Uber both have resumed service in Everett.

The grace period for companies to comply with the new rules was ending, which may have prompted the hubbub. The City Council asked to take another look at the new ordinances. Now, the new rules are on hold pending the council’s review, and the grace period continues.

“Our goal is to develop a solution that keeps Lyft and Uber in Everett,” said Meghan Pembroke, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office.

Riders can use Lyft and Uber smartphone applications to request pickups with little advance notice. The city had taken steps to enforce rules for those drivers similar to what was in place for traditional cab companies.

The companies raised questions about city requirements for drivers to seek a business license and undergo a criminal background check. The background check is conducted by the employer. Each company also needs a license to operate in Everett.

In addition, there were concerns about vehicle inspection rules compared to other parts of the region. The city made adjustments so a valid inspection in Seattle or King County would suffice for an inspection here. However, Everett says the vehicles in use can’t be subject to safety recalls.

Licenses have been issued to 10 Lyft drivers and 7 Uber drivers, Pembroke said. Lyft as a company was issued one but withdrew its application on July 13. Uber has not applied.

The ordinances were approved by the City Council in June. The deadline for the business licenses was Thursday.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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