October 5, 2015

Sarasota's Anti-Regulation Vote Settles the Uber-Taxi Feud

Michael D. Farren

Research Fellow
Summary

Last month in Florida, the Sarasota City Commission did the unthinkable. It unanimously voted to end unnecessary regulation of taxis in its city. In an era where the political feud between taxis and ridesharing companies seems to reach new heights every day – and has already boiled over into violent protests in France, Mexico and India – the city of Sarasota provided an admirable example of how to release the tension surrounding a contentious issue.

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Last month in Florida, the Sarasota City Commission did the unthinkable. It unanimously voted to end unnecessary regulation of taxis in its city. In an era where the political feud between taxis and ridesharing companies seems to reach new heights every day – and has already boiled over into violent protests in France, Mexico and India – the city of Sarasota provided an admirable example of how to release the tension surrounding a contentious issue.

The city commission recognized that the regulations it had in mind – background checks, insurance requirements and vehicle standards – were similar to policies already being practiced by ridesharing companies. In their desire to satisfy their customers, Uber, Lyft and the others are actually self-regulating. This is the unanticipated beauty of the market – that competition between companies leads to increasingly better provision of services. If a company fails in this, Sarasota Commissioner Liz Alpert observed, "they're going to be out of business."

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