The DC council is set to impose new regulations on private on-demand car service Uber that would limit Uber's ability to offer a new, lower cost service in the District. The proposed rules are a pretty shameless attempt to protect incumbent taxi drivers in the District from additional competition. They are also an offensive and crude response to a situation that should instead be used to motivate greater innovation and reform from DC taxis, not 19th century style protectionism.
Here's why I support Uber, including its proposed new "Uberx" service.
- As a free and sentient being, I choose to pay extra for what I consider to be a higher-quality service (Uber cars vs. the ordinary dump of a taxi in the District). Why does the DC council think it has a mandate to decide what's more or less valuable in my eyes? Why can't we let the market decide?
- I can ride around cashless and credit cardless with Uber. While dozens of cities around the world (I travel frequently) are moving towards credit card payments in taxis, in DC it's a rarity to find the brave taxi driver slinging a Square payment system. DC taxis are simply behind the times and need to modernize, like, now.
- Visiting New York City for the day and riding in the NYC taxis is a stark reminder of just how pathetic the service is in DC. The more Uber can help push DC taxis to innovate, the better for taxpayers, tourists, local businesses....everyone.
- My last Uber driver had an autograph from Sarah Palin in his passport. How cool is that?!