No Surprise: Fresh Competition from Rideshare Companies Leads to Taxi Reforms in St. Louis
Straight from the Department of Totally Expected Outcomes, Saint Louis’ Metropolitan Taxicab Commission has slashed a wide array of fees and requirements on taxi operators in anticipation of a market-share battle between the traditional taxicabs regulated by the group and ride-share companies like Uber and Lyft.
To help cab companies compete with Uber and other ride-hailing firms, the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission voted Wednesday to slash license fees and reduce inspection requirements.
The new rules, which take effect Thursday, also cut minimum liability insurance requirements for the cab firms.
Fingerprint background checks still will be required for new cab drivers but they’ll be able to get them from lower-cost private vendors instead of at the commission office.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article linked above goes into greater depth on what is changing in Saint Louis, so hit the link to get the full rundown. Show-Me has discussed the issue at length for a number of years now, and more recently my colleague Graham Renz in particular has repeatedly raised flags about the behavior of Missouri’s taxi cartels and their impact on consumers. After the Legislature defanged taxi commissions statewide, this week’s regulatory changes were more or less a foregone conclusion.
On behalf of Graham, I have the privilege of saying that today’s events are no surprise. When you let the market work, innovators will innovate, or else be left behind, and it seems clear that the Commission has recognized and responded to that reality this week.
Whether in transportation or energy or some other sector of the economy, monopolies and oligopolies often work to the detriment of the average person and to the advantage of entrenched interests. Let the market—let competition, let innovation—work, and the result tends to be far superior to letting the status quo ossify, with the backing of government bureaucracy.
These reforms were long overdue, but they are here. Congratulations, St. Louis.