In response to my post the other day on Washington DC’s taxi protection racket cracking down on Uber again, I got a nastygram from the DC Taxicab Commission’s public information officer.
Her argument is essentially that they aren’t forcing Uber to go out of business here, since they could always just comply with the new rules.
But nowhere has she or anyone else explained the consumer harm that supposedly follows from Uber being allowed to run its business (which is why the much more likely explanation is that the taxi commission is backing entrenched interests, as they’ve done before — with a string of federal convictions to show for it).
It turns out, of course, that the DC taxi commission’s valiant efforts to protect consumers are occurring despite never having actually received a complaint from any consumer.
The note I received, though, was incredibly telling about where the DC government is coming from in all of this.
Ironically, regulators in DC have had the farthest to go to clean up the taxi industry because of the legacy of a deregulated, open-entry system which was the most atrocious in the US. Uber represents just the cutting edge of an attempt to deregulate yet again — with the same disastrous consequences. The city needs to stand up to Uber and its thuggish ways if they are to achieve a modern, integrated, and well-governed cab industry.
They believe that DC has had the farthest to go to clean up the industry because it used to be possible for anyone who could meet safety standards to start a business… rather than because it was about the dirtiest, most crooked agency in local government anywhere in the country?