Oregonian Editorial Board Hearts Uber

The paper-of-record-that’s-no-longer-on-my-front-step comes down squarely on the side of innovation in supporting Uber‘s case before the  Private for-Hire Transportation Board of Review.

I agree. While we continue to need regulation for passenger safety and to prevent abuses, transportation technology is evolving much more quickly than our regulatory framework, and the regulators need to put on their running shoes.

In particular the idea of a government enforced set of pricing and service tiers separating taxis and towncars seems like something out of the Victorian era…

4 Comments

4 Responses to Oregonian Editorial Board Hearts Uber

  1. Alex Reed
    October 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm Link

    (posted this on Oregonian site too). The problem is that the “regulatory” board is 50% composed of industry representatives (owners and drivers of various for-hire companies). http://www.portlandoregon.gov/revenue/47378 Seems like the definition of “conflict of interest” to me. No wonder Portland’s taxis are uncompetitive, unreliable, and expensive – the foxes are guarding the henhouse!

    I’ve contacted Commissioner Novick about this. Got no indication that he thinks that the for-hire companies regulating themselves is a problem….

  2. bjcefola
    October 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm Link

    I agree that regulations should not unduly burden emerging transit services such as UBER, but this is a simple fix to one code- that for-hire vehicles have to wait an hour before pickup. I don’t see how that serves a purpose for regular limos or UBER alike. Limo services are distinguished more by the quality of their service than the timing of when they pick someone up.

    But I don’t agree that regulation of prices and service, particularly for taxis, is unnecessary. Imagine a world without that regulation. 10 cabs line up and 10 people want to get a cab. And those 10 cabs can be any vehicle in any condition and charge any price. How long would it take for everyone to sort out which cab will drive which passenger at what price?

    At the end of that process would people feel better about the experience then they would if they could simply get into any cab and know they would get a consistent charge and relatively consistent service?

    • Alex Reed
      October 8, 2013 at 6:48 pm Link

      Bjcefola – my problem is that in addition to regulating prices and service, the City also limits the supply of taxis and other for-hire type vehicles. I fail to see the public purpose of this. The limited supply leads to “market-clearing” prices that are higher than other cities, lackluster service (“where else are you gonna go?”, asks Radio Cab?), and a near-complete lack of cabs to hail on the street downtown.

  3. Allan
    October 8, 2013 at 7:06 pm Link

    If prices were lower and taxis more plentiful, the life of the car free Portlander would be better. I don’t see why our policies are preventing this. They should halve the maximum taxi prices and increase the number of medallions by double or triple

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