What I don't get is why taxi services don't just provide good service. If they really want to crush Uber, that's all they need to do. It shouldn't be hard or costly to do, either.
They could start with these changes, which would make a world of difference:
1. Ditch the third-world drivers. It's frustrating dealing with taxi drivers who don't know where they're going or what they're doing, since they only arrived in the country a month before. It's also frustrating when they can't speak or understand English, which is the international language of the travel industry worldwide, especially in countries that are natively English-speaking. And it's utterly disrespectful when they spend the whole trip chattering loudly on their phones or headsets in Arabic or some other obscure language the entire trip. Instead, they should hire locals who know the area, who know the local language (plus English, if they differ), and who won't treat the customers like utter shit.
2. Charge reasonable fares. A $6 starting fare, plus $8/mile after that, plus $1 for every 5 seconds idling at a light makes short taxi trips unbearably expensive, and it makes medium and long voyages pretty much impossible. The rates are excessive even if they were providing excellent service. But as we saw in the first point, the taxi customers are paying top dollar for third-world service. Short trips should be competitive with public transit fares. Longer trips should still be within reason. If an airline charges $800 to fly thousands of miles, it should not cost $100 to take a taxi just a few miles to get to the airport to catch that flight!
3. Never refuse rides. Despite even short rides costing the customer a lot of money, it's still not uncommon for taxi drivers to outright refuse to drive customers because their trip is too short, or may take the driver to say a residential area where there won't likely be other fares to pick up afterward. Pick up the customer promptly, drive the customer to where the customer wants to go, and don't bitch about it.
4. Stop resorting to third-world harassment tactics. This is also tied in with the first point, but we've seen many taxi drivers in Western cities around the world continually resort to really pathetic third-world harassment tactics in their fight against Uber. That's not how business should work in Western nations! If you can't keep up with your competitors, then you go out of business. You don't resort to criminal or quasi-criminal behavior. It just makes you look sleazier and shittier than you already look when you do stuff like that! So don't go blocking major roads. Don't go attacking Uber vehicles with passengers in them. Don't go attacking normal, non-Uber vehicles where the one passenger just happens to be sitting in the back instead of the front.
They should start with those four basic things. Even then, they all boil down to: don't treat your customers like shit, and don't subject them to a shitty experience.
Uber is only a threat to taxi services that provide shitty service. Uber really offers no advantages beyond taxi services that provide good service. It's not like the customers really give a fuck how they get from here to there. They just don't want to be subjected to the shitshow that taxi drivers have typically subjected them to. If taxi drivers just did a good fucking job for once, then Uber couldn't do a thing to them.
Fuck, these taxi services might even see an increase in business, and profit, if taxi rides started to become known as something convenient and enjoyable, rather than the third-world screw job they tend to be these days.
So you want a cartel that has successfully performed regulatory capture to respond as if driven by competition, or just to be nice?