As someone quite familiar with transportation and mobility issues I can tell you that, taxi companies have finally seen the light. They are now starting to incorporate their own ride hailing software just like Uber and Lyft to stay competitive. They are morping into slightly different versions of the TNCs. And of course, they are lobbying government at every turn in an effort to protect their oligopoly from competition.
Such quid quo pro arrangments go on in all industries where government gets involved. Only to protect us unwashed masses of course.
Within seven years of new government regulation the regulated have gotten into bed with the regulators and any sense of independent oversight is long gone.
But the Sheeple will continue to say that such government oversight provides security because without it, the XYZ industry would be like the wild west and people would get taken, robbed, killed, etc.
Don’t bother telling them that the “wild west” is a mythical creation in the minds of Hollywood or that murder rates then were even much less than they are today.
The results are not either or nor black and white. But as so often is the case, a mid range blend of the extremes. This is the case in the taxi/TNC models.
Uber and Lyft, who I am currently working closely with on special projects, as they currently stand are “doomed” because the cost of transportation doesn’t suddenly drop because of a new business model.
Labor is still the biggest cost and that doesn’t go away. Taxis had moved to the independent contractor model a long time ago before the TNCs were even thought up.
The TNCs have benefited from extremely low labor costs due to the start up nature of their business by promising false earnings levels to willing participants who drink the start up/tech cool aid. They just want to be part of the next big thing. No TNC has made a profit yet despite their deflated labor costs. They will need to raise reimbursement rates and fares to stay solvent and make an actual profit they can return to shareholders in the form of actual dividends. Imagine that.
On the other hand, the vaulted taxi medallions - the key to the government regulated monopoly that creates a false sense of security in so many mislead minds - have dropped from a $250,000 price to a waiting list to sell in San Francisco due to the pressure applied by the TNCs.
False sense of security? One only need to look at people who criticize the TNCs but praise our oligopolistic taxi systems because “Uber drivers rape their customers” whereas government sanctioned cab drivers have been screened to ensure integrity.
As a high school friend’s father who had been a taxi driver for many years used to say, “Taxi drivers are the scum of the earth.” But just ask Ms. Everyday who will tell you that taxi drives have been vetted by the government or they wouldn’t be allowed to drive a taxi whereas TNC drivers have not. PT Barnum’s assertions about suckers was not wrong!