by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Regulators in Harvard’s hometown have proposed new regulations aimed at banning Uber, Sidecar and Lyft. As Uber’s website describes them, the rules would:
* Set a $50 minimum price for any non-taxi car ride, regardless of time or distance
* Prohibit you from requesting a ride on-demand from anyone other than a taxi
* Forbid any technological device from being part of fare calculation during a ride
Apparently, the Cambridge License Commission has backed off these rules, but they’re a perfect example of how something like a licensing commission can be set up to protect consumers from unscrupulous or incompetent businesses, but end up protecting incumbent businesses from consumer choice.
Of course, Cambridge is no innovator in the efforts to protect entrenched taxi operators from competition.