Everett Backs Off New Rules After Lyft, Uber Cancel Services

The company says the city’s proposed background check requirement is similar to a rule in Seattle.

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’s news release was issued Friday, about four hours after Uber made its announcement. Lyft shared word of a similar suspension on Thursday, noting that the City Council had approved rules that require drivers to obtain a business license and undergo background checks. The company says the background checks duplicate what already is required for many drivers who also serve in Seattle. Lyft and Uber both have resumed service in Everett.

The grace period for companies to comply with the new rules was ending, which might 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.

The companies raised questions about city requirements for drivers. The background check is conducted by the business. There also were concerns about vehicle inspections rules. The city responded to those concerns by making 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 seven Uber drivers, Pembroke said. Lyft as a company was issued one but withdrew its application July 13. Uber has not applied.The ordinances were approved by the City Council in June. The deadline for the business licenses was Thursday.

rking@heraldnet.com

A version of this story first ran in the Everett Herald.

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