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.
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