by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The question isn’t just whether regulators let Uber and Lyft into the market, but also how heavily taxis and limos are regulated as well. The R Street Institute has surveyed 50 cities to assess the regulations on ride-sharing, taxis, and limousines. Their report gives a composite score for each city. R Street found that the cities whose regulatory regimes are least open to competition are Portland and Las Vegas, which received Fs in the report. Kansas City, San Antonio, and Philadelphia also scored poorly, receiving D minuses. On the other hand, Fresno; Minneapolis; and Washington, D.C., received As. Here is what R Street had to say about Las Vegas:
[…] Las Vegas had the worst ride score in the nation. Its overall score was just 55, for an F grade. It achieved this distinction by combining an extremely harsh approach to TNCs, which are completely frozen out of the market, with perhaps the country’s most burdensome taxi regulations, and among the worst structures for limos as well. The result is a regulatory morass that makes for poor transportation in the city.
The economic threat posed by such oppressive regulation is substantial. Officials already have begun to worry that Las Vegas may lose out on conventions and other major events because of its inadequate transportation services, particularly carrying passengers to and from its major airport. If the city doesn’t move to liberalize its transportation controls, including a legal structure for TNCs, it may lose out on millions of dollars in economic activity as more inter-connected cities draw away large gatherings.