Skip to main content

Uber Taxi Regulation Exemption: Chickens Already Coming Home to Roost.

Uber drivers are now learning a simple truth long understood by their more experienced counterparts in the non-exempt taxi sector:

The more drivers on the road, the less each driver makes.

In a robust economy with a healthy demand for labour, higher wages in other kinds of work limit the number of cab drivers. When alternate employment opportunities become scarce, people pour into the taxi business. That's one reason the industry has come to be dominated by immigrants over the last thirty years.

Because the taxi biz is usually not covered under minimum wage laws, there is no bottom to the wages available to cab drivers.

A majority of starry-eyed libertarians, especially the newbies, drunk on their free market economic theories, make the mistake of concluding that deregulating micro sectors of an otherwise sclerotic welfare state economy will lead to miracles.

Well, here's a wake-up call for you. It doesn't.

What we are starting to see now in Canada is a repetition of the same circumstances that lead to the taxi medallion system in New York City. (See here, and here.)  And the regulation of the hackney business in London in 1654. (see here.)

"Forasmuch as many Inconveniences do daily arise by reason of the late increase and great irregularity of Hackney Coaches and Hackney Coachmen in London, Westminster and the places thereabouts: For remedy thereof, Be it Ordained by his Highness the Lord Protector, with the consent of His Council, that from the four and twentieth day of June, One thousand six hundred fifty and four ensuing, the number of persons keeping Hackney-coaches and Hackney horses for Coaches, within the City of London, Westminster and six miles about the late lines of communication, do not exceed at one time two hundred; nor the Hackney-coaches to be used by them, three hundred; nor their Hackney Horses for Coaches do not exceed the number of six hundred.

As a driver in the non-exempt taxi sector, I knew this from the start which was why, despite the plethora of idiotic taxi regulations harassing my business, I never considered Uber as a viable option.

As I write, I expect Hamilton City Council has already voted on its new bylaw exempting Uber from most taxi regulations, and opening the door to an unlimited number of taxicabs on Hamilton streets.

I expect the experiment will have the same results as it has always had in the past. I know from familiarity and experience that Hamilton's politicians know nothing about taxi history and even less about economics.

Uber drivers are also rediscovering the realities of taxi economics.

The whine fests on uberpeople.net are becoming more frequent (see Uber is Dead,) and the lawsuits are starting to roll. (see here.)

Also worth watching:


It's amusing to see how the Trump phenomenon even divides the taxi community. (see here.)The thing is, I have always advocated an open taxi market since I first started ridesharing in 1977. Seven or eight years ago, while a member of the taxi advisory committee, and seeing how destructive a sudden, overnight deregulation (or worse, Uber exemption) would be upon people who invested their lives in this business, I recommended a phased withdrawal of the closed entry system, over say fifty years (freedom in fifty) in favour of a market oriented entry model.

Not one other person on the committee was willing to give the proposal any consideration, and I am confident that, had my recommendation been put before city council, it would have been soundly rejected.

What disgusts me to no end is the ease with which Uber was able to prompt the politicians to do an abrupt about-face and take an absolute wrecking ball to the system that was so sacred to these governments in the past, regardless of the strife it has caused. It has revealed the true nature of most of these politicians for those who have eyes to see.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Poor Uber Driver Oh my. This is a sad story. Here is an Uber driver voicing his concerns in the Uber driver's forum about whether or not his "sharing economy" gig is paying off. It's possible that this is not a genuine post from a genuine Uber driver. I see that. It's the kind of schlopp I would write if I were in a mischievous mood. On the other hand, given what I already know about the Uber scam, and the people it exploits in order to get them to employ "assets they already own," in Tim Hudak's famous phrase, it's entirely reasonable to believe that this is a REAL Uber driver, who is just beginning to figure out who is making money, or should be making money, and who is getting royally boned. (See my story about the Uber driver who drove a football player from Chicago to Buffalo for minus $38.50.) I knew it was a scam from the beginning. That is why, when people asked me why, instead of tolerating the City of Hamilton's demonstrably abs…
My Encounter with an Uber Cab Driver I had an encounter with an Uber cabbie this morning. When I pulled into the parking lot at the front of my townhouse complex, I noticed this guy sitting in a small, Uber-like car, staring at this dash-mounted smart-phone, and looking confused. He was sitting in front of unit #1. I got out of my car and started walking toward my own unit which is also numbered. It's not a gigantic complex, so in my simple, low-tech, cab driver's mind, I figure that if you are looking for a unit number at an address, the first thing you should do is look at the number on the unit. If that number is "1" the next thing you do is look at the number on the next unit. Often, though not always, that number is either a "2" or a "3" depending upon the numbering format. In my complex, the next number is "2" and so on. For a taxi driver that information can be critical. So this guy looks up at me as I am walking by, and ask…
Fluid Law and how Uber Successfully Exploited It The guy almost gets the story. One thing he misses, though, is how Uber, with its "Madison Avenue" strategy is able to exploit the natural, systemically inevitable, corruptibility of most politicians. This whole Uber phenomenon would not have been successful at all, given that taxi regulations already exist, unless they could get the politicians on board, and convince them, or persuade them to pretend they actually believe, that Uber was not in the taxi business. Hence, Uber taxis are exempt from existing taxi regulations. Most people would interpret this state of affairs as a tilting of the playing field, which it is. The sleazebags at Hamilton's City Hall came up with the term, "New Licensing Category" in order to facilitate Uber's circumvention of the existing taxi bylaw. "New Licensing Category" is nothing but a code word for tilting the playing field in favour of a politically sexy fad. I…