In a victory for competition in
Nashville, its City Council has severely reduced its taxi
protectionism by slashing the minimum fee limo or livery drivers
must charge from $45 all the way down to $9.75.
Council members approved the $45 fee in 2010 as a way to
distinguish between taxis and livery vehicles, but some later came
to think they had set the minimum too high.
The change also will allow San Francisco-based Uber, an
app-based service that’s in about 30 cities across the United
States and 70 around the world, to come to Tennessee for the first
time. Uber customers use a smartphone app that stores their credit
card information to order a ride. When they do, the GPS-powered
software contacts drivers of private cars in the area and gives
them a chance to make the trip.
Uber plans to start operating its top-level Uber Black service
in Nashville as soon as Mayor Karl Dean signs the bill into law,
spokeswoman Nairi Hourdajian said.
Not mentioned in the story is that the Institute for Justice had
filed suit against
Nashville in order to overturn the absurd price floor. But last
year a jury ruled on behalf of the City of Nashville, upholding the
law. It’s notable that a city council, having been told that their
anti-competitive meddling is perfectly legal, nevertheless realized
that it’s a bad idea for its citizens.
The Tennessean concludes by noting that while critics
complained that the new minimum would cut into taxi drivers’
businesses (appropriate response: So?), there wasn’t a big presence
by cab drivers at the council meeting.
Hat tip to Dan Alban
of the Institute for Justice
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/08/nashville-slashes-mandatory-limo-prices