Uber and other taxi apps score a victory as Seattle has a change of heart

Uber's having a pretty tough time over in Europe, but it's having a luckier streak in the US. After Seattle city council members upheld their decision to place limits on private taxi companies like Uber earlier this year, the city has now reversed that decision, allowing each service to operate free of extra restrictions. They will, however, have to adhere to a few minor rules. Geekwire reports that Uber, Lyft and Sidecar will need to be licensed as as transportation network companies so that they (and their drivers) can meet insurance requirements. Seattle officials also scrubbed the 150-driver limit that was placed upon them (Uber says it has around 1,000 drivers in the city alone). Cab drivers will enjoy less regulation as a result and the city will issue 200 new licences over the next four years, striking a fairer balance for regular taxi companies. Although Uber and Lyft drivers will be forced to jump through a few additional hoops, the agreement is a massive win for the startups that they represent. Regulators in other cities seeking to enforce stricter limits on private hire companies could turn to Seattle for inspiration, but will experience vocal opposition from taxi firms regardless of what they decide.