Taxis (hardly a new means of transportation) are using government commissions across America to prevent ride-sharing competition (a decidedly newer means of transportation) from taking hold:
Imagine if, twenty years ago, the companies that made cassette tapes had been allowed to form little quasi-governmental entities in every major city across the United States to regulate who could make and sell cassette tapes. Imagine these regulators had also been given the power to decide how much demand there was for music and therefore how many cassette tapes could be sold.
Now, imagine they had also been given the power to regulate all the other ways people in their city listened to music. Had this kind of regulation happened prior to the invention of compact discs, iPods, and streaming, these little quasi-governmental entities probably would have kept CDs from ever reaching your local music store, they would have banned people from walking down city streets with iPods, and the ability to stream any music you want at any time would just be a dream.
In the days of Pandora , iTunes Radio, and Spotify, this of course sounds ridiculous. However, in the tightly regulated taxi industry, this very scenario is playing out all over the United States. Uber, Lyft, and other ride-share companies have created the technology to revolutionize transportation in the same way that digital streaming revolutionized music. Ride-sharing products give consumers what has been lacking from the taxi industry—freedom of choice and ease of payment, just as Pandora and Spotify brought the same qualities to the music industry.
However, unlike the in the music industry, taxi cab commissions, state legislatures, and city councils across the country are busy trying to stifle innovation and protect their government-regulated monopoly on transportation. More simply put, ride sharing is threatening the tightly regulated taxi industry by offering a free market transportation solution: rides on the consumer’s terms.