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Comment Re:Why don't taxis just provide good service?! (Score 1) 130

The medallions avoid a couple things,
- drivers charging on a hail unsafely then haggling over who can carry them
- lots of empty cabs driving around

Gas prices and the expense of operating a vehicle in the city takes care of the second. Taxi companies won't run cabs if they're not making money, so the problem is self-limiting. Medallions only serve to artificially limit supply.

Comment Re:Cool article... (Score 2) 130

One of the reasons Uber, Lyft and all the other "ride sharing" app companies get so much flack because they are breaking the law.

I'd be more sympathetic if 1) Uber and Lyft were offering the same services as taxis (you can't flag down an Uber; you have to request one), and 2) many jurisdictions hadn't already ruled that you're wrong.

Comment Re:Why don't taxis just provide good service?! (Score 3, Interesting) 130

In most jurisdictions the taxi companies have been subject to more rigorous (i.e. expensive) standards than Uber has been following.

...because they paid good money to write those laws. Taxi laws are a prime example of regulatory capture. For example, Company A got a sweet deal on credit card readers and they spent 2 years installing them in their cabs. Then, they tell the local regulatory body that credit card readers are a necessary public good and suggest that all taxis should have readers installed in a reasonable time frame - say, within three months. Finally, they laugh as their competitors scramble to shell out inflated prices for emergency rush orders on credit card readers so that they can stay in business.

For another example, three companies get together for group bargaining with an insurance company: "if you give us a good rate, we'll guarantee that all of our cabs will carry your new expanded coverage." Once that deal's in place, they ask for regulations to require all taxis to carry that level of coverage. Of course, all other companies have to pay the un-negotiated rate and now they have a harder time competing.

You don't get to write the laws and then bitch about them. Well, apparently you can, but you shouldn't be able to.

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