Examples of crap in the list above: taxi drivers must know the area they operate in. Really? What does it even mean to know the area? London black cab drivers have to pass an exam called The Knowledge that requires them to memorise street maps of the city, so at least it's well defined there, but this is nonsense from the pre-GPS era. There's no need for cab drivers to do it all in their heads these days, and I'd much rather they rely on the computer which will always pick the fastest route and can't decide to take a detour because the passengers looks like a tourist.
And then the GPS makes a silly mistake as they are apt to do and the driver can't tell. From my experience, car navigation systems aren't mature enough to blindly rely on.
Another example: drivers must know the radio protocols. Why?! Uber drivers receive instructions via an intuitive smartphone app. Controlling cabs via radio is an obsolete technology yet the requirement to use it lives on.
That depends on the size of the company. If you have a one-man operation that only works via Uber, yes. If you have a dozen cabs and use both Uber and regular phone lines to get customers, having a radio is really useful.
I do agree, however, that self-employed cabbies with only one car should be exempt from that one.
Yet another example: cars must be painted a particular colour. Why? Uber cars are located using modern technology, not by watching the roads for vehicles painted in a deliberately ugly colour. This is another obsolete convention progress has made irrelevant - yet it's mandated.
It's not irrelevant for when you want to identify a parking cab as a cab. Unlike you, I don't think it's wise to completely abolish traditional cabs because some random company had a neat idea. Again, though, this is one requirement they should waive for self-employed cabbies that only work through a broker like Uber.
Then we get to the more questionable things that aren't obsolete exactly, just arguable. Why is it possible to have enough driving violations to be struck off as a cab driver, but still be allowed to drive friends and family around? Surely you're either safe enough to use the public roads, or you're not, and the commercial relationships you have with the people inside make no difference?
Because you don't spend a significant amount of time driving your friends and family around. Generally, people who don't work as drivers spend relatively little time on the road. People who earn their money by driving around have many more opportunities to screw up yet again.
People with a criminal record are banned from working as drivers? ALL crimes? What about crimes that don't involve being actually dangerous, like white collar crimes? Why can't hiring decisions like this be left to the cab companies?
I'd have to talk to a lawyer for that one but my guess is that it's tied to the reliability requirement. If you can't act in the interest of society then you're not expected to act in the interests of your passengers. It's just guesswork on my part, though.
Taxi drivers must know first aid? Presumably someone injured themselves in a cab once and some regulator thought this was a good response. What if that person injures themselves on the street? Why not require everyone to be trained in first aid? This kind of arbitrary distinction doesn't make much sense until you remember that we have these regulators sitting around with nothing better to do all day than craft rules for their tiny piece of jurisdiction.
Everyone IS required to be trained in first aid. Germany has a "duty to rescue" law and you can't get a driver's license without attending a training course on basic first aid, CPR and traffic accident rescue procedures. If you come across an accident you are required by law to stop, call the emergency hotline if possible and do your best to keep the people there alive until professional help arrives. This is also why every car in Germany is mandated to have an appropriate (and non-expired) first aid kit onboard - at least if you intend to operate it on public roads.
It's recommended that people attend a refresher course on this stuff every couple years but few people do. For professional drivers, though, the refresher course is mandated.
(And before you ask about what happens if you make things worse: When resuing someone you're immune from prosecution if you acted in good faith and your measures were in accordance with an average person's understanding of first aid. That's why we make sure that the average driver's understanding of first aid is at least semi-decent. Likewise, you won't be prosecuted if you couldn't act, e.g. because you can't stand the sight of blood. Still, you can't just drive on.)
And so on and so on. It's easy to take a reflexive "COMPANIES BAD GOVERNMENTS GOOD" position in these situations, but my experience of regulators have been that they never reform themselves .... all they ever do is add more and more requirements. Short of a company like Uber showing people how differently things can work, how would progress ever be made?
That doesn't elevate Uber above the law. If Uber has a neat business model, good on them. But that business model can't trump the law. If Uber wants the law changed because certain parts don't make sense with their model they'll have to convince the lawmakers (ie. lobby for it), not just ignore the law and then act indignant when they're busted for doing so.
That's like pirating Oracle Enterprise Database for your company because you find Oracle's prices too high and then complaining when the BSA comes knocking at your door. Oracle's prices may be high but that still doesn't make the copyright go away.