City, county and state governments throughout the United States often enact measures to protect or promote favored business groups. The City of Portland’s efforts to protect the cab companies through ordinances limiting the rates and services of other businesses that transport individuals within the metro area such as airport limos, Uber and Lyft recently received judicial approval from the Ninth Circuit in Speed’s Auto Servs. Group v. City of Portland, 2017 U.S. App Lexis 5551 (9th Cir. 2017). In that case the 9th Circuit affirmed the district court’s determination that the City’s ordinances establishing higher minimum fares and minimum wait times between the passenger’s request for a ride and the time they are picked up for private personal transport companies, which explicitly exempts taxicab companies, is legally permissible in pursuit of the City’s purported interest in enhancing local transportation.
Meanwhile, Seattle has adopted ordinances and regulations through which the Teamsters’ Union has been designated the only certified representative authorized to organize Uber and Lyft drivers. A federal court has just entered an injunction temporarily halting enforcement of the ordinance and its regulations though, as noted here, the court was careful to refrain from commenting on the merits or demerits of the City action.