Big government could “pick-up” free market lessons from Uber and Lyft
BY ERIN NORRIS
In a day and age where almost every purchase is made through technology, it is easy to overlook the importance of what companies like Uber and Lyft provide and how they align with free market principles. These ride-sharing services came at a time when consumers were unhappy with the inconvenient and costly services offered by taxis. Uber and Lyft sought out to challenge this market by expanding the options that come with transportation.
As these companies continue to grow, big government is attempting to bring them down. Their threat to the traditional taxi services has led to them facing regulations involving licenses, driving areas, and more. Instead of trying to restrict these ridesharing services, why don’t taxis work to enhance their services in order to evolve with this competitive market? Government barriers lead to an economy’s inability to flourish which ultimately hurts the consumers. It is the free market concept of consumer independence that allows an economy to prosper.
Since starting college almost two years ago, I have realized the importance of my role as a consumer and the financial decisions I make. Whenever I need to go somewhere in an unfamiliar city, I have the option to take an Uber, Lyft, or cab. Usually, I go with the Uber or Lyft due to their lower fares and customer service. This allows me to escape my hotel more and go on adventures I would never experience if transportation were more complicated. It is the freedom to choose that has led to my appreciation of Uber and Lyft as champions of the free market system. We the people have the opportunity to determine their fate by contributing to the competition. It is the idea of competition that leads to more innovation and productivity from companies. To think that all of this is powered by the consumer is what makes the free market system so appealing to me.
These ride-sharing services are not only beneficial to the passengers but the driver as well. During my time traveling, I have asked Uber and Lyft drivers their primary motive for spending their days driving strangers around their city. Most of them say it is because of the opportunity they are given to make money on their own customized schedule. According to Uber, their drivers make an average of $19.04 an hour compared to a taxi driver’s average wage of $10.97. Whether it is a college student driving around one night to make some extra money or a retired worker wanting to get out and meet people, my experience with these drivers has given me the chance to watch the free market in action.
It is time we start encouraging companies to operate freely and work to provide unique customer service in order to withstand the competition. Perhaps in the coming years, a new service will be made available to compete with Uber and Lyft. If it had the capability to meet the existing needs of consumers, such a company should be welcomed into the market. After all, if the free market system led to the rise of Uber and Lyft, it can most certainly diminish it.