Cities Screw Residents by Squelching Uber, Lyft, and Other Ride Services


It's a rare day when you can't read about a city in the U.S. threatening to shut down an innovative new ride-sharing service such as Uber or Lyft. Bureaucrats and elected officials usually cast their opposition in terms of public safety, but the motivation is crystal-clear. Every burg with a taxi industry also has regulations and barriers to entry that exist mostly to protect folks who are already in business. Customer satisfaction and safety has little or nothing to do with it. Indeed, the new services that take advantage of smart-phone technology are all about customer satisfaction, allowing users to post reviews online immediately. When's the last time you felt you empowered to do the same with a conventional taxi service?

On October 22, Reason TV released the video above, which details the lengths to which the Washngton, D.C. government went to kill Uber, one of the best known and most-popular new car service. The effort failed and it's well worth watching to see what it took to beat back a blatantly anti-competitive attack in the nation's capital city. Go here for more links, resources, and downloadable versions. Here's the original writeup:

The on-demand car service Uber is one of the most inventive transportation technologies of the new century. In over 20 countries—and two dozen U.S. cities—Uber uses a smartphone app to connect people who need rides with drivers of a range of vehicles from luxury towncars to regular taxis.

Like most powerful innovations, Uber disrupts the status quo by competing with established business interests. In Washington, D.C., the service was an instant hit with city residents—and almost as quickly found itself at odds with D.C.'s powerful taxi lobby and its allies on the city council. 

The result was the Uber Wars, which ended in a striking victory for the company and its customers.

Related Article: "Driving in the Future: How Regulators Try to Crush Uber, Lyft, and New Ride-Sharing Ventures." 

For more on the Capital City's taxicab cartel, watch "DC Taxi Heist." And for Reason's coverage of Uber and its regulatory run-ins, go here….

About 10 minutes.

Written and directed by Rob Montz (follow him on Twitter @robmontz) and executive produced by William Beutler at Beutler Ink (@BeutlerInk). For more information and inquiries, email TheUberWars@gmail.com

NEXT: 2009 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Barack Obama's Ultimate #Humblebrag: He's "Really Good at Killing People."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Calgary’s evil city government is trying to squash Uber without prohibiting it, just using outrageous regulation to kill it. For example, all limo-sedan services must charge a minimum $58.74 for a trip, regardless of the trip length. Don’t bother reading the justifications offered by the Taxi Tsars it will just make you want to kill.

    I think some people in Uber or Lyft are going to push the envelope with a quasi-renegade ‘economic guerilla war’ by offering and providing service even where prohibited. I hope so, and I think new technologies will make it more feasible.

    1. I wonder if they could do some kind of ride barter that you could buy barter points if you’re short on them. Barter points could of course be cashed out if you have an excess of them.

    2. Try Uber… It’s an Awesome Service!!!

      Get $10 off UBER on your next ride


      or use PROMO CODE ubernew10off

  2. And squelching food trucks, too.

  3. I only use uber in DC. Won’t hail a cab again. And clients love it. I can email a receipt so there is no question about charges.

  4. San Diego, many years ago, built a streetcar system that was praised and then praised some more. Curiously, it doesn’t go to the airport, and mind you, San Diego’s Lindbergh Field is just adjacent to downtown. Furthermore, the Coaster & Surfrider train terminal is a mere 1 mile away. Yet the much-lauded city transport doesn’t connect the air pore to it.
    When I want to see my folks who live in North County of San Diego, the convenient and economical (because it is subsidized) Coaster train is an obvious choice. But I have to take a cab. Invariably, when the cabby finds out that I’m just going to the train terminal he gets pissed off and doesn’t want to take me because it isn’t a ride worth the queue he had to wait in.
    One of these new cabbie services wouldn’t behave like that and furthermore they aren’t working for one of the crony cab services that created the bullshit in the first place. I cite this story often to people who heart public (subsidized) transportation.

  5. Since Uber and several other non-taxis started operating in SF, quite a few of the cabbies have had an attitude transplant.

  6. Has anybody checked with the Uber Left to see if they are merely upset that freedom and choice from Uber Lyft sounds so similar, yet is so opposite?

  7. Meanwhile, the Free State Project hits the 15,000-signer milestone, 75% of the way to taking over New Hampshire:


  8. Try Uber… It’s an Awesome Service!!!

    Get $10 off UBER on your next ride


    or use PROMO CODE ubernew10off

  9. Hi! Please support our petition to develop a Lyft app for Windows Phones. Sign it here http://t.co/uAv6X24upn. Thanks!

  10. UberX/Lyft/Sidecar vehicles are running around with invalid insurance.


Please to post comments

Comments are closed.