by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
This is why I love the market.
Uber and Lyft introduced something new. All of a sudden, consumers had an alternative to taxis, and given the success that these ride sharing services have had, it appears that consumers love the model. Of course, the losers were taxi companies, and many cried foul.
But proponents of the free market, like us here at the John Locke Foundation, have always said that it would be fine. Taxi companies would adapt or be replaced. Taxi drivers would learn to operate in a tweaked model, or they’d go to work for one of the rival companies. It might be a little bumpy in the short term, but pretty quickly, the whole thing would sort itself out. The product preferred by consumers would thrive, passengers would be better served, and resources would be better allocated. Wins all around.
So I was excited to see that precisely this is happening in Asheville. According to WLOS,
Asheville Taxi Co. on Wednesday received a permit from the state to operate as a ride-share service. It will work just like Uber and Lyft. Users can download an app, set up a driver, and the driver will pick them up and take them to their destination.
The old systems are still in place. You can still call or text for a taxi. But now consumers have another option, and the taxi company has an additional way to engage with customers. Just as we predicted. That’s good for everyone.