Taxi Wars: How Govt Tries to Kill Innovative Ride Services Customers Want


If you've ever tried Uber, the innovative car service available in about two dozen U.S. cities, or have been stuck waiting for a cab, watch the video above.

Rob Montz and William Beutler's short doc captures attempts by established interests and politicians in Washington, D.C. to crush a service that only added to residents' transportation options at no cost to taxpayers. It's an incredible tutorial both in how markets, technology, and innovation can make our lives better - and why such improvements are constantly fought by people who benefit from the status quo. For more on the topic, go here.

And then read Brian Doherty's account of how drivers for Uber and another new service, Lyft, are getting screwed by West Coast regulators whose first loyalty seems to be to existing taxicab companies rather than residents who clearly benefit from a greater range of people selling safe rides. In fact, Lyft not only gives riders the ability to rate their experience and share it with others, it gives the same ability to drivers to flag riders who routinely pony up less than the suggested donation (Lyft technically solicits donations rather than collects fares).

In the information-rich world of Lyft, a driver can ensure if they wish that passengers with records of paying below any given percentage of donations won't have their ride requests received by the driver (though drivers can never know the specific payment records of specific passengers). [Lyft] driver Jess says "that little tidbit needs to be out there. Passengers should know that if they pay much less than recommended, they do hurt themselves."

Read more here.