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Over this Independence Day weekend, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito stated that proposed legislation that would limit the number of app-based driving services (such as Uber and Lyft) was motivated purely by the need to control "traffic congestion, pollution and labor standards," not because of the falling value of taxi cab medallions. In an interview between Ms. Viverito and radio program host Brian Lehrer:
Uber, the app-based ridesharing service based in San Francisco, has caused a stir in a local New Orleans suburb, where Attorney Deborah Foshee began investigating as to whether or not the taxi service can legally operate its vehicles in Jefferson Parish. According to a recent Associated Press article:
Recently the state of California struck a major blow to the ride-sharing industry, primarily the popular app-based taxi service, Uber. On June 19th, the California Labor Commissioner issued an order which officially labels Uber drivers as employees, instead of independent contractors like the ride-sharing business had intended for them to remain.
A Georgia lawmaker, state Rep. Alan Powell (R-Hartwell), has filed legislation that would, if passed, make it extraordinarily difficult for Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing services to operate in the Peach State.
Since its inception, the popular ride sharing service Uber has been struggling against the burdensome set of regulations governing taxi services. In essence, government enforces a taxi monopoly by making it ridiculously expensive for anyone to break into the industry. This limits the supply of taxis while keeping prices nice and high for incumbents. Everyone was happy except the people who had to put up with poor service, long wait times, and high prices.
The Virginia DMV has reportedly lifted the ban on ride sharing services such as Uber and Lyft—at least for now! The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has issued a press release praising Gov. Terry McAuliffe for reversing the ban against these innovative companies:
This morning I used Lyft to get to work. My driver conveniently picked me up in a nice, clean, air-conditioned car all the way out in Falls Church, VA (30 minutes away from DC), and he drove me to the Capitol for just $25.
What's wrong with requesting a ride from Uber or Lyft? That's a question the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles needs to answer. On June 5, the VA DMV sent a cease and desist letter to both companies. These ride-sharing services provide a great and convenient alternative to taxi cabs. Whatever your reason for requesting an Uber or Lyft, it’s your right to engage in a voluntary service, isn't it?