Rapid Response: Uber and Lyft Make Cities Safer?
BY JUSTIN OWEN
News broke this weekend that Memphis is following in the footsteps of protectionists in Pennsylvania and Virginia, ordering Uber and Lyft to cease operations. The rideshare companies have riled up the taxi industry, which as I wrote in a previous blog post, operate a near cartel in tandem with most major cities. Cities and states have begun to “crack down” on Uber and Lyft, and now Memphis is kowtowing to the cabbies’ demands. As the protectionists frame it, safety is their utmost concern. Interestingly, these rideshare companies might actually lead to greater safety. A new article outlines how DUIs have dropped by 11 percent in Philadelphia since the services became available in the city. While, as the article points out, correlation and causation are not interchangeable, the concept is certainly logical. So when the taxi industry crows that the government must stop Uber and Lyft in the name of safety, data may begin to force them to tweak their messaging. Of course, it’s hard to simply argue that the government should trample on consumer demand and technology just because the competition resulting therefrom cuts into your bottom line. I’ll bet they keep that one in their back pocket for now. -Justin Owen