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Ever Feel Like You Just Can't Hail a Cab? Here Are Three Reasons Why


"...the government doesn't care."

Getting a taxi ride, depending on where you are, could mean anything from standing on a street corner for 10 seconds with a hand raised to standing on a corner for 20 minutes waiving frantically to having to call and arrange a pick-up. There are reasons though, according to the Institute for Justice, why it seems there are times when you just can't hail a cab.

In a recent video on the topic, the institute's Jeanette Petersen tells you to "buckle up and enjoy the ride" as she explains three reasons why you can't get a cab.

Reason #1: Not enough cabs to go 'round

"Cities and states use a variety of tools to make it impossible to start a new taxi company or obtain a permit to operate a cab," Petersen says. "Consumers, not the government or a taxi cartel, should decide how many taxi cabs operate.

Reason #2: Pushing the traditional taxi system

Peterson goes on to say that "innovation is outlawed." She notes that the government wants to ensure that only a traditional taxi system is operating, not a different form of transportation. She calls some government action against online discounts and smartphone apps for cabs "economic protectionism." In a case the institute is working on in Portland, Ore., for example, two companies were dinged by the city for discounts they offered on limo services:

Recently, the city’s Revenue Bureau clamped down on Groupon.com promotions offered by two Portland limo and sedan companies, Towncar.com and Fiesta Limousine. When the companies offered discounted fares to their customers—$32 one-way trips to the airport or up to 30 miles elsewhere in Portland—city enforcers immediately threatened the companies with a combined $895,000 in fines and suspension of their operating permits. In response to the controversy, the city has publicly stated that its job is to protect taxicab companies from competition by enforcing anti-consumer rules.

Portland cannot constitutionally seek to protect taxicab businesses from competition at everyone else’s expense.

Reason #3: Pricey fare

"Cities and states shield taxis from price competition," Petersen said.

If drivers charge less, they could be fined or lose their license.

Even with these three reasons, Petersen boils it down to one simple answer to why you can't get a taxi: "Because the government doesn't care."

Petersen explains that one of the institute's initiatives is to try and dispel some of these special interest group incentives and regulations.

Watch the Institute for Justice's full video explaining the reasons why it thinks you can't get a cab:

Feel free to share a fourth reason why you think getting a taxi can be taxing at times in the comments below.

Featured image via Shutterstock.com

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