For John, BLUF: Here is another example of the Governmental Bureaucracy screwing over the poor to benefit the better off. Nothing to see here; just move along.
Ms Megan McArdle, who is a Bloomberg View columnist who writes on economics, business and public policy, gives us Uber Serves the Poor by Going Where Taxis Don’t.
People talk about the ride-sharing service as if it’s mostly a boon for rich people, who have conspired with the titans of Silicon Valley to take food out of the mouths of hardworking taxi drivers. And sure, what’s good for Uber is bad for taxi drivers — or at least, bad for the owners of taxi medallions. But the assumption that the beneficiaries are rich is a little strange.Then, adding insult to injury, the InstaPundit says:
As I noted in the very first article I ever wrote about the company, the primary appeal of Uber for me has never been avoiding taxis, or even getting a cheaper fare. If I’m in an area where it’s easy to catch a street hail, I’ll usually just stick my arm out like the old-fashioned girl I am. No, the biggest benefit I’ve always seen is that Uber allowed you to catch a ride from places where taxis are scarce.
Five years ago, when we moved in, my neighborhood in Washington was one of those places. I almost never saw available taxis near us. For taxi drivers, time is money — any time they’re not driving someone around, they are burning gas looking for a fare. So no wonder drivers would rather head downtown, where there were lots of people looking for taxis, than cruise a larger area for the few fares that might need a ride. Street hailing simply isn’t efficient without a dense population of taxi riders. And while you could theoretically call a taxi to your house, this was a highly unreliable means of transportation. More than once, I have had to press my retired mother into emergency service for a ride to the airport, because my car simply never showed up.
I’ve always thought that in terms of letting you do something you couldn’t do before, Uber provides the biggest benefit to people who live in lower-income neighborhoods, not in rich ones. That’s where dispatch is often unreliable, where street hails are rare, and where many residents don’t have a car.
But Uber offers insufficient opportunities for graft. Negotiating the creation of those opportunities is what the controversy over Uber is really about.Have I mentioned Mr Hernando de Soto's book, The Other Path?
Regards — Cliff