The advent of Uber is quickly making local cab regulations here and virtually everywhere else generally unfair and, to some extent, pointless beyond their value as revenue producers.
Although looking out for the welfare of the public is the argument for the heavy regulation of cab companies from here to New York City, not to be overlooked is the money these rules, inspections and procedures generate for government.
Now, however, the constant spread of Uber and similar taxi companies that are largely unregulated have placed both local cab operators and local government at a disadvantage.
Cab operators are finding it more difficult not just to compete, but to exist, given that the government-related costs and fare restrictions imposed on them don’t affect Uber, which is only lightly handled in this state by the Public Service Commission.
The disadvantage for government, meanwhile, is that the income produced by the sale or resale of medallions will diminish as the value of being a local operator gradually becomes less attractive. Similarly, the revenue from the inspections and fees local companies must deal with also will decline.
This puts local government in the position of either lightening the regulatory burden on traditional cab outfits and taking less money from them so they can maintain their operational margins, or waiting for Uber to do it for them by pushing traditional companies to the side.
City Hall has to face the facts: its cab regulation model is out of sync with what’s happening the real world. It must either come up with a creative way of clipping Uber’s wings on the local level or revise its regulations to give the traditional cabs a better chance of success.
Money aside, it’s just a matter of fairness. True, it’s no one’s fault that Uber has begun to work in Ocean City, but regulating one part of the taxi equation while the other part does what it wants doesn’t seem fair at all.