A number of cities and states are being pushed by the taxi industry to handicap ride services like Uber and Lyft in order to level the playing field. Back in “the old days,” one had to call a taxi service and wait, with no time promised, or walk to a busy street hoping to hail a cab. Now, with Uber, you can request a car, and literally watch on your phone to see where the driver is, and know when he or she will get there. But taxi companies are not happy with this, or with the amount of business they are losing, and they want Uber to have a mandatory waiting period of at least 15 minutes before they get to you, even if they are right around the corner.
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Uber is working hard to carve out a niche in the business of getting to its customers quickly, whether it means picking you up for a ride, or bringing you food with UberEats. In a few markets, Uber has even tested drone delivery, bringing ice cream to people in Singapore, according to the Inquisitr. So it doesn’t seem like Uber is backing down, and in fact they are fighting any attempt to penalize them in the fair market.
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Cato says that though they have been pressured by unions to institute a penalty against Uber and Lyft, Nevada as a state, and several cities have decided not to pass any sort of punishment, at least at this time. Walter Olson explained that it’s the attempt by the union to drag everyone down to “the least able” by punishing the apps.
“In Nevada, the taxi union recently proposed a package of measures to slam the apps good and hard.”
T. Ruthie Jones, the union president of the taxi industry, said that they weren’t interested in punishing Uber, but they simply wanted to “level the playing field.”
The union created a wish list for the state of Nevada in ways that penalties could be assessed against Uber and Lyft. The taxi industry is huge in Nevada (think Las Vegas and Reno), and so the state was a good test case for changing legislation. So Senate Bill 485 was created, and at first, a 10 minute penalty was put into the bill to keep Uber drivers from showing up too quickly for customers, but it was decided that it wasn’t enough, and so it was changed to 15 minutes.
And critics of the penalty against Uber and Lyft say that it was not a coincidence that nearly a half a million dollars was given to 50 legislators in the last election by the taxi union. And so the bill had big support, but obviously not from Uber.
— Software News (@App_sw_) March 11, 2017
Uber responded loudly to even the introduction of the bill, and a representative called it “really absurd, frankly, on its face,” and said that the company would pull out of the state of Nevada rather than comply with a punishment for serving customers better than the taxi industry.
The Reno Gazette said that there was a roaring objection to the senate bill from Uber and from politicians and citizens, who say that the taxi industry was trying to push the legislature to punish Uber and Lyft for doing a better job than the cab companies. Uber said that of all the legislation created against the company, this is the worst they saw all year.
Nevada State Senator Kelvin Atkinson chaired the committee, but stressed that it wasn’t his creation, and it came from the transportation committee. And to his credit, Atkinson wisely put an end to the push for the bill and killed it, calling it “bad policy.”
“After reading through all of SB 485 and discussing it with Majority Leader (Aaron Ford), we have determined it is bad policy, bill is DEAD!”
Uber responded, and said that they were glad that common sense ruled the day.
“We appreciate the commonsense decision from Senators Ford and Atkinson. We look forward to working with legislative leadership to grow ridesharing in Nevada.”
— Access Vegas (@AccessVegas) January 31, 2017
But the taxi unions are not done, and they are said to continue venue shopping in order to buy some legislation on the books to handicap companies like Uber and Lyft.
Do you think that Uber should be handicapped with a mandatory waiting period to pick up riders?
[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]