...on the crucial finer points that make being paid to drive someone around so much different that it merits such massive legal protection and draconian regulation.
It certainly is not the burden of inspection. At least where i am at, taxis are given the EXACT SAME inspection as out of province used vehicles registered by regular drivers. As for maintenance, when i was still scrimping and saving to pay off student loan and get a house i drove used cars and went to the junk yard to get parts, and there were ALWAYS taxi drivers there getting tires off wrecks for their cabs. They were less picky than me...if they were not flat and not worn to the belts they'd take them.
I understand there may be liability issues in driving taxi as well, however that doesn't merit the nature of regulations in place--so many rules are in place to limit competition and have nothing to do with safety or fraud protection. People can and have set up online services to do deliveries, operate guided tours and so forth that require professional drivers without the challenges and hassle. Even driving schoolbus isnt given so much scrutiny! Think of the children!
I dont fault drivers, it is the fault of taxi companies and plate brokers. Tight regulation makes plates so scarce relative to demand that they can cost more to buy or lease than the vehicle.
The whole anti-uber thing honestly confounds me. I understand the need for regulation in terms of safety and liability but i really fail to see why governments ate so obstructionist. They are supposed to HELP the public, and the public is helped by efforts to improve transportation.
I suppose it has to do with history of taxi operation. Perhaps back at the early 1900's before regulation a few shady operators ruined it for the honest ones. Perhaps even organised crime established itself in the industry leading to closer scrutiny by government for our protection. My theory is that criminal element never completely left. They may have established a presence on boards/commissions to ensure that if they had to follow rules to operate honestly and safely that the rules would also ensure their enterprises were lucrative and free from competition.
I have no solid evidence of this happening, and I believe whatever mob presence there was is long gone, but there certainly is a legacy there in present regulations and powerful lobbies suggesting such influence in the past.
The lobby must be bery powerful still. A couple of right leaning pro business councillors in my city are usually quite outspoken in defending policies to cut red tape, limit taxation and regulation and so forth to help especially entrepreneurs and small businesses, but they roll over and defer to the taxi commissioner at the mere mention of uber or more taxi plates and back amendments to blunt efforts to ease restrictions or outright vote against adding plates or permitting uber and others to operate.
It makes me wonder what goes on that makes the taxi lobby so influential that even some opinionated politicians clam up at mere mention of taxis or uber.