Time to Consider Deregulation of the FHV industry

Deregulation in the for-hire vehicle industry is something that should be seriously considered these days. It is obvious that the New York State government, in its various versions of the TNC (Transportation Network Company) bills it has recently created, proves that while there is virtually no difference in the service provided by a TNC like Uber, from that of the traditional car and limousine service, the various services are being treated differently, all without any real reason or rationale. Can someone really tell me with a straight face that providing transportation via a TNC is not transportation for hire? Is the State Legislature and the Governor going to serious claim that the provision of transportation via a TNC is not a commercial transaction. Ride Sharing is simply a misnomer. While the ride can technically be shared by more than one person, we are no talking about legalized hitchhiking. It is a commercial transaction for which a service is being provided to one person and that person is paying for the service. At least create rules that are the same for all services. Otherwise, the playing field is hardly level and will only lead to destruction of all for-hire transportation providers other than Uber and Lyft.

While new competition from all sides of the car service industry are forcing operators to improve their business, it is impossible to adapting through improved driver retention and customer service when Uber and Lyft are able to operate the same type of business as a traditional car service but can play by rules which are either non-existent or so lenient as to make it unfair competition. If there is going to be regulations, then there should be regulation for all that provide the same service. Otherwise, the government should de-regulate the entire industry.

Transportation deregulation in the airline, railroad and shipping industries have produced enormous benefits for consumers. Airfares are down sharply; trucking rates have fallen; the nation’s railroads are offering new services. A few years ago, passenger and freight transportation were among the most heavily regulated industries in the United States. Now much of the red tape regulation has been totally eliminated.

This wave of deregulation stems from a growing recognition that government controls of transportation have not fostered the public interest. Regulatory agencies tend to protect the interests of the industries they regulate. Studies by experts representing the whole spectrum of political persuasion have confirmed that regulatory agencies reduce competition at the expense of the public. Typically, industry-oriented individuals are appointed to commissions, often from industry itself. Once in office, regulators perceive their duty as protecting the financial health of the companies they regulate. The easiest way to accomplish this is to reduce competition, thereby increasing rates and creating monopolies. This seems to be the exact case in New York City and soon to be throughout New York State.