The Virginia DMV just issued a cease-and-desist to ostensibly illegal taxi companies, a.k.a. Uber, Lyft

posted at 6:41 pm on June 5, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

I’ve always liked living in Virginia because it’s a state that, in my humble opinion, generally has its head screwed on at least relatively straight in terms of taxes, regulations, budgets, and overall business climate. It has its flaws (and its unfortunately growing purplishness, ugh), of course, but in matters both state and municipal it typically displays plenty of good common sense.

Until now, evidently. I never imagined that we would descend to the progressive depths of France, or London, or New York City, or Washington, D.C. because of a bunch of bass-ackwards regulations that protect established businesses from good ol’ fashioned free-market competition, but here we are. This is an embarrassment.

Virginia’s Department of Motor Vehicles sent cease and desist orders today to Lyft and Uber, telling the two ride services that they must stop operating in violation of state law or face fines against their part-time drivers.

The DMV had already issued civil penalties against the companies in April — $26,000 for Uber and $9,000 for Lyft — for trips that their drivers provided in Virginia despite warnings by the state agency that Virginia law does not allow their business model. …

The DMV is studying Virginia’s motor carrier laws with an eye toward legislative changes next year that could allow Lyft and Uber to legally operate in the state. Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne said last week that he liked the companies’ business models, but until the law is changed, they are violating it. …

In the cease and desist letters, DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb told representatives for both companies that he is “once again making clear” that they must stop operating in Virginia until they get the proper authority.

What, exactly, are “passenger carrier laws” — or, for that matter, any gratuitous professional licensing requirements — good for? …Not much, except imposing prohibitive regulatory burdens on entrepreneurs and innovative newcomers and thereby protecting entrenched rent-seekers as well as their higher prices. In the long run, everybody loses, and in the meantime, the DMV is trying to deprive smartphone-wielding Virginians of an excellent, efficient, and explosively popular service that allows them to avoid having to wait out on dark street corners, hastily calculate cash tips, or fight over the proffered credit card machines with shady cab drivers.

I’m disappointed in you, Virginia.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Elections have consequences…

ladyingray on June 5, 2014 at 6:45 PM

“I’ve always liked living in Virginia because it’s a state that, in my humble opinion, generally has its head screwed on at least relatively straight in terms of taxes, regulations, budgets, and overall business climate.”

Good God, Erika, Arlington is the most left-wing place I’ve ever lived, and that’s saying a lot coming from a Californian. Northern Virginia might as well be the bay area. And the state isn’t “purplish” unless you mean “almost but not entirely blue”.

Nessuno on June 5, 2014 at 6:52 PM

I don’t understand. What are they doing that is illegal?

davidk on June 5, 2014 at 6:53 PM

The red states war on free enterprise.

coolrepublica on June 5, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Happened here too, the cab companies own the pols so the pols write the regs to keep any competition out and Uber has to fight tooth and nail just to be able to operate.

clearbluesky on June 5, 2014 at 6:56 PM

I appreciate the sentiment … but just as I’m not a fan of the feds being selective in enforcing laws, states and cities should not be selective in their enforcement of laws.

The good news is that the DMV is looking at what kind of law should be written, passed and signed by the governor to make the Uber and Lyft business model legal. Until then, enforce the law.

I think there is some good news here. First, the DMV is looking into it and sees goodness in the concept/business model. Second, an outdated group of laws that merely create barriers to entry into a service may fall by the wayside.

As I understand it, there are similar barriers in the cosmetology and funeral industries. Perhaps Virginia could look into those areas too. I’m a huge fan of puncturing the protection racket masquerading as government licensing and regulation. In some places it serves a purpose … in others it is simply a barrier to competition and as you say … other than the protected businesses … no one wins.

Hope the DMV works quickly and effectively at crafting proposed legislation to change the law.

Grinch on June 5, 2014 at 6:56 PM

Sorry Erika, If the companies in question are operating against existing law (they can’t claim ignorance since they were warned), then I can’t develop a lot of sympathy. Before they started, they should have gone through the process of changing the law even if it means a an expensive PR campaign.

We have enough law evasion in that Virginia area as it is.

FOWG1 on June 5, 2014 at 6:56 PM

That’s insane. The govt’s role should be to break up monopolies that screw the consumer, not promote them. Insane.

And in the future we will have cheap self-driving vehicles that will be able to transport people at a fraction of the cost of current monopolized taxi services. And many people will be able to exist without owning their own vehicles. A huge resource saver. Don’t let the taxi monopolies selfishly stand in the way!

http://nextbigfuture.com/2013/10/self-driving-car-benefits-and-barriers.html

anotherJoe on June 5, 2014 at 6:56 PM

In the laaaaaaannnnddddd of the frrrrrreeeeeee…..and the h…..what’s that? I can’t sing here without a license and I’m only allowed “free speech” in an approved 1st Amendment zone??? Oh, I’m sorry…. Please don’t taze me bro!

KMC1 on June 5, 2014 at 6:57 PM

I’m a Virginian living in Florida and they have been doing stuff that doesn’t make me anxious to return.

Cindy Munford on June 5, 2014 at 7:00 PM

What are they doing that is illegal?

I would guess something to do with driving for hire without a commercial driver license, driving for hire without going through federal mandated drug testing, etc.
If that’s the case, I don’t think I have much sympathy for them, if a taxi cab company and other commercial operators have to go through the enormous hassle of drug testing programs, everyone should.

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 7:03 PM

The red states war on free enterprise.

coolrepublica on June 5, 2014 at 6:55 PM

Yeah…the ‘red state’ that just elected noted conservative Terry McAuliffe for a governor???

This bull$hit probably originated from his office.

BigWyo on June 5, 2014 at 7:04 PM

It’s because the low-information voters elected terry mcawful.

rightside on June 5, 2014 at 7:09 PM

I lived and ran a business in VA for 30 years and when my red county started turning blue I saw the writing on the wall and left. The expansion of Northern Virginia county liberalism into the next layer of outlying counties is killing the state.

I original left Maryland and loved being in the business friendly and conservative state of Virginia and now its like hearing about a dead friend when I read these stories.

tej on June 5, 2014 at 7:11 PM

I would guess something to do with driving for hire without a commercial driver license, driving for hire without going through federal mandated drug testing, etc.
If that’s the case, I don’t think I have much sympathy for them, if a taxi cab company and other commercial operators have to go through the enormous hassle of drug testing programs, everyone should.

Then why the need to change the rules to make them legal if other Virginia cab companies are able to comply?

wifarmboy on June 5, 2014 at 7:14 PM

What are they doing that is illegal?

I would guess something to do with driving for hire without a commercial driver license, driving for hire without going through federal mandated drug testing, etc.
If that’s the case, I don’t think I have much sympathy for them, if a taxi cab company and other commercial operators have to go through the enormous hassle of drug testing programs, everyone should.

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Thank you.

davidk on June 5, 2014 at 7:15 PM

If that’s the case, I don’t think I have much sympathy for them, if a taxi cab company and other commercial operators have to go through the enormous hassle of drug testing programs, everyone should.

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Spoken like a true Fascist.

There is no good excuse for the government to put anyone “through [any] enormous hassle”.

Lyft and Uber have both come up with models that use the free market to provide a much better way to deal with problems. The government has no vested interest in ensuring that any of their “enormous hassles” have any more effectiveness than the performance art regularly imposed on travelers at airports by the TSA .

This is rent seeking and bureaucratic career saving, pure and simple. The government has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that they are completely corrupted and fully incapable of justifying any regulatory overwatch functions.

Reuben Hick on June 5, 2014 at 7:16 PM

“War on Vets”, OOps, this thread iasn’t about O’Barry Forking Vets.

Sven on June 5, 2014 at 7:16 PM

What, exactly, are “passenger carrier laws” — or, for that matter, any gratuitous professional licensing requirements — good for?

Absolutely NOTHIN’!

PhilBoynton on June 5, 2014 at 7:17 PM

I’m disappointed in you, Virginia.

Me too. What’s next? Outlawing the Slug system? (Northern VA commuters know what I’m talking about).

Happy Nomad on June 5, 2014 at 7:20 PM

How about instead of taking the “Too bad! So sad!” tack with this, Virginia just repeal the law that makes this kind of rent-seeking possible? This wouldn’t bother me so much if I really believed that everyone had to follow the same law, but come on! Does anyone really believe that entrenched interests don’t get special treatment as the bureaucrats look the other way for their buddies? Honestly?!

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 7:22 PM

What, exactly, are “passenger carrier laws” — or, for that matter, any gratuitous professional licensing requirements — good for?

Absolutely NOTHIN’!

PhilBoynton on June 5, 2014 at 7:17 PM

Not true. They are good for one thing and one thing only: As a barrier to competition that keeps out the young upstarts and thusly prevents them from competing with the old guard.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 7:27 PM

The state used to be pretty red, but the metastasizing cancer of FedGov employees, and Federal contractors living off the Federal teat, are turning VA purple and eventually blue. Get out while you can, move to a free state further inland, it’s only going to get worse.

quikstrike98 on June 5, 2014 at 7:27 PM

The state used to be pretty red, but the metastasizing cancer of FedGov employees, and Federal contractors living off the Federal teat, are turning VA purple and eventually blue. Get out while you can, move to a free state further inland, it’s only going to get worse.

quikstrike98 on June 5, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Even living in South Dakota isn’t what it used to be.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 7:29 PM

That sucks. I love Uber! I cant figure out why regular cabs hate to take credit cards smh.

Politricks on June 5, 2014 at 7:32 PM

Where I work, taxi drivers must have a clean driving record, undergo a FBI background check, no felonies, and no DUI’s in 7 years. This is intended too insure passenger safety. I think Über drivers should undergo the same.

Think of it this way… A girl gets dressed up all sexy, goes to a bar, gets drunk, and tumbles into a car with a stranger… what could go wrong…?

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Why the map of Seattle, Erika?

You didn’t think we would notice…but we did!

BTW: Seattle TV is reporting that the SPU shooter is in custody. No fatalities reported yet, but 2 victims with life threatening injuries.

kcewa on June 5, 2014 at 7:33 PM

That sucks. I love Uber! I cant figure out why regular cabs hate to take credit cards smh.

Politricks on June 5, 2014 at 7:32 PM

What are you crying about? This is simply your democrat(ic) government policy(ies) in action.

Judge_Dredd on June 5, 2014 at 7:35 PM

That sucks. I love Uber! I cant figure out why regular cabs hate to take credit cards smh.

Politricks on June 5, 2014 at 7:32 PM

A couple of reasons… It is time consuming, it often is costly to the drivers, and in the case of some unscrupulous drivers, it is not cash, and therefore, taxable…

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 7:35 PM

That sucks. I love Uber! I cant figure out why regular cabs hate to take credit cards smh.

Politricks on June 5, 2014 at 7:32 PM

They don’t want a record of their receipts?

kcewa on June 5, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Even living in South Dakota isn’t what it used to be.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 7:29 PM

East river was always leftard leaning…..They always had the population and close proximity to Minnesota.

Of course, I haven’t lived there for 15 years….

BigWyo on June 5, 2014 at 7:38 PM

They don’t want a record of their receipts?

kcewa on June 5, 2014 at 7:36 PM

Tips in cash….

I almost always tip cash…no record of how much you actually get..

BigWyo on June 5, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Tips in cash….

I almost always tip cash…no record of how much you actually get..

BigWyo on June 5, 2014 at 7:41 PM

Tipping in cash always gets you better service when you come back.

kcewa on June 5, 2014 at 7:43 PM

The Guild shall not be challenged.

Another Drew on June 5, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Northern Virginia is now government worker central.

Hamilton really snookered Jefferson in that deal…

William Eaton on June 5, 2014 at 7:56 PM

If that’s the case, I don’t think I have much sympathy for them, if a taxi cab company and other commercial operators have to go through the enormous hassle of drug testing programs, everyone should.

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 7:03 PM

Ah yes. the cry of every authoritarian.

lorien1973 on June 5, 2014 at 7:58 PM

I’ve always liked living in Virginia because it’s a state that, in my humble opinion, generally has its head screwed on at least relatively straight in terms of taxes, regulations, budgets, and overall business climate

…who did they elect recently?

KOOLAID2 on June 5, 2014 at 8:12 PM

…I didn’t know you could screw a head…up there!

KOOLAID2 on June 5, 2014 at 8:12 PM

…who did they elect recently?

KOOLAID2 on June 5, 2014 at 8:12 PM

Not to mention their Senators…

ladyingray on June 5, 2014 at 8:16 PM

Even living in South Dakota isn’t what it used to be.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 7:29 PM

East river was always leftard leaning…..They always had the population and close proximity to Minnesota.

Of course, I haven’t lived there for 15 years….

BigWyo on June 5, 2014 at 7:38 PM

You can thank Sioux Falls for that. Problem is, the bad ideas start out in leftist bastions but they never stay there for too long.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Where I work, taxi drivers must have a clean driving record, undergo a FBI background check, no felonies, and no DUI’s in 7 years. This is intended too insure passenger safety. I think Über drivers should undergo the same.

Think of it this way… A girl gets dressed up all sexy, goes to a bar, gets drunk, and tumbles into a car with a stranger… what could go wrong…?

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 7:33 PM

There are ways to handle these problems that don’t involve keeping new competitors out of the system. Hell, in my home town, starting up a cab company is bloody easy — as long as you’re willing to run 24/7/365.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 8:20 PM

What, exactly, are “passenger carrier laws” — or, for that matter, any gratuitous professional licensing requirements — good for? …Not much, except imposing prohibitive regulatory burdens on entrepreneurs and innovative newcomers and thereby protecting entrenched rent-seekers as well as their higher prices.

FDR’s legacy is alive and well in the 21st century. THIS is why industries should NOT be allowed to write and get legislated their own rules, because, as you said, Erika, those rules are formulated to bar or otherwise make prohibitive what it will take for new companies to break into the Old Boys Network.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:21 PM

The Uber Left vs. Uber and Lyft.

Steve Z on June 5, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Where I work, taxi drivers must have a clean driving record, undergo a FBI background check, no felonies, and no DUI’s in 7 years. This is intended too insure passenger safety. I think Über drivers should undergo the same.
Think of it this way… A girl gets dressed up all sexy, goes to a bar, gets drunk, and tumbles into a car with a stranger… what could go wrong…?
PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 7:33 PM

PnC, it’s not the drivers that appear to be the problem, but getting new companies up and running in the industry. What roadblocks gubmint hoops regulations does/did your company have to get through follow just to be able to do business *ahem!* legally?

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:24 PM

PnC, it’s not the drivers that appear to be the problem, but getting new companies up and running in the industry. What roadblocks gubmint hoops regulations does/did your company have to get through follow just to be able to do business *ahem!* legally?

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Great example is mortuary licensing laws in many states. I forget where it was, but I read a story about a guy who wanted to compete with funeral homes to sell vaults and caskets.

Almost universally, to be a licensed mortician, you have to be trained to handle embalming fluid, which is no small task. There are OSHA rules for embalming chemicals that don’t apply to any other industry, given the unique considerations. Sound reasonable? Perhaps, until…

…the guy who wants to sell vaults and caskets is told he must be a licensed mortician to do so. “Wait a minute. The dude’s not going to embalm bodies. What does he need to be licensed for? Anyone can sell a pine box, right?” Nope. When you have to be a licensed mortician to sell the pine boxes, there are a lot fewer places to go to buy pine boxes. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is rent seeking.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Ah yes. the cry of every authoritarian.

lorien1973 on June 5, 2014 at 7:58 PM

And the typical response from someone who never ran a business and dealt with regulations. Why the f**k should Uber not subject to the same regulatory burdens as any other commercial carriers and taxi’s? Explain it to us?

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Gryphon, ever hear of the hair braiding cases? David has gone up against Goliath and won.

Many of these regulations date back to the days of FDR and serve as barriers for new businesses.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:35 PM

In the cease and desist letters, DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb told representatives for both companies that he is “once again making clear” that they must stop operating in Virginia until they get the proper authority.

Under what authority in God’s name does one need to practice business in an industry where companies already exist and operate freely?!

anuts on June 5, 2014 at 8:40 PM

And the typical response from someone who never ran a business and dealt with regulations. Why the f**k should Uber not subject to the same regulatory burdens as any other commercial carriers and taxi’s? Explain it to us?

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 8:34 PM

Because those regulations are unjust and specifically sought after by established businesses in order to make it more difficult for competitors to enter the market. Tell me you know what a “grandfather clause” is, oh wise one.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Gryphon, ever hear of the hair braiding cases? David has gone up against Goliath and won.

Many of these regulations date back to the days of FDR and serve as barriers for new businesses.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:35 PM

Oh yeah. Absolutely. The hair braiding cases are another example of the same thing I’m talking about. And it can be overcome. But I’m just trying to answer the “Why shouldn’t they have to follow the same rules?” crowd.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Under what authority in God’s name does one need to practice business in an industry where companies already exist and operate freely?!

anuts on June 5, 2014 at 8:40 PM

Because those companies don’t operate freely. They operate under rules that they know will make it more difficult for competitors to enter the market.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 8:47 PM

Oh yeah. Absolutely. The hair braiding cases are another example of the same thing I’m talking about. And it can be overcome. But I’m just trying to answer the “Why shouldn’t they have to follow the same rules?” crowd.
gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 8:46 PM

I’ve often wondered why one should follow “rules” when said “rules” do not apply. I see you do, too. ;-)

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:48 PM

I lived in VA from 1963 until 1978, back when it voted for Republicans.
Now? Well, uh, VA Sucks now.

Tard on June 5, 2014 at 8:48 PM

I’ve often wondered why one should follow “rules” when said “rules” do not apply. I see you do, too. ;-)

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:48 PM

No laws outside of building codes should contain grandfather clauses. Wherever you see grandfather clauses, it’s a pretty good indication that some form of rent seeking is taking place.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 8:50 PM

And Virginians should respond by refusing to tip the drivers. That will get the message through in a fairly quick and comprehensive manner.

Rix on June 5, 2014 at 8:52 PM

I lived in VA from 1963 until 1978, back when it voted for Republicans.
Now? Well, uh, VA Sucks now.
Tard on June 5, 2014 at 8:48 PM

A lot of that wouldn’t happen if a pseudo-Electoral College approach was used to determine elections: One county/parish/district = one vote. It would balance out the lib strongholds (cities) with the more rural areas, and socialism would have a harder time to gain a foothold.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:53 PM

No laws outside of building codes should contain grandfather clauses. Wherever you see grandfather clauses, it’s a pretty good indication that some form of rent seeking is taking place.
gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 8:50 PM

You call “rent sharing” what I would call “protectionism.” All is good.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:54 PM

I lived in VA from 1963 until 1978, back when it voted for Republicans.
Now? Well, uh, VA Sucks now.
Tard on June 5, 2014 at 8:48 PM

But you don’t feel noways Tard…

Sorry. I couldn’t resist. :)

Judge_Dredd on June 5, 2014 at 8:56 PM

You call “rent sharing” what I would call “protectionism.” All is good.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:54 PM

It’s rent seeking, not “sharing.” And essentially, it is a form of protectionism. Specifically legislative protectionism of certain businesses in certain industries. There’s nothing new about it. It was rampant in old royal decrees in the ages of guilds. But we were supposed to have moved beyond royal prerogative in America.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:00 PM

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:00 PM

My mistake–thank you for the correction. I didn’t know that about guilds, though.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Because those regulations are unjust and specifically sought after by established businesses in order to make it more difficult for competitors to enter the market. Tell me you know what a “grandfather clause” is, oh wise one.

What the hell are you talking about? This ain’t about NY city limiting taxi’s or local ordinances restricting them. There are some pretty basic laws in all the transportation industry, one being for commercial operators to be drug tested. Why does Uber get to have a pass on that?
Your fighting against a fair playing field in just the opposite way here.

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 9:09 PM

My mistake–thank you for the correction. I didn’t know that about guilds, though.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:03 PM

Guilds operated under royal charter, generally in certain cities. They were given monopolies on various industrial undertakings, usually crafting of certain objects. The guilds held their methods close to their chests, and only the full guild members, or “masters” got to decide who else could join.

Entry into a guild would start in childhood, where children would work under a guild master as an apprentice. Once that child came of age and struck out on his own, he would sometimes engage in the trade as a journeyman, or “jack.” Only upon submitting an example of his best work to the guild, in the form of a “master piece,” would the jack be allowed to claim the title of “master,” and be privy to all of the guild’s secret methods. It is also from this system that we get the expression, “jack of all trades, master of none.”

While guilds existed, their ability to hamper outsiders from practicing a given craft really stifled creativity, and the last vestiges of the guild system really didn’t disappear until the British industrial revolution.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:12 PM

What the hell are you talking about? This ain’t about NY city limiting taxi’s or local ordinances restricting them. There are some pretty basic laws in all the transportation industry, one being for commercial operators to be drug tested. Why does Uber get to have a pass on that?
Your fighting against a fair playing field in just the opposite way here.

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 9:09 PM

Drug testing is an expense. And you and I can argue til we’re blue in the face if it’s a just expense or not, but don’t tell me it’s not a barrier to entry. You bet your sweet ass it is. My home town cab companies function just fine without drug tests as a barrier to entry.

And before you ask, yes, my town does issue hack licenses. But they’re ridiculously easy to get if you have a clean driving record and they’re ridiculously hard to lose unless you have a stupid amount of lead in your foot or a DUI on your record.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:15 PM

A) Required drug testing is a barrier to entry.

B) Required drug testing is not the only barrier to entry for cab companies in Virginia.

C) Established companies like barriers to entry for new competition.

Exactly which of these three facts is in dispute, ladies and gents?

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Your fighting against a fair playing field in just the opposite way here.
lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 9:09 PM

Huh?

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:23 PM

Exactly which of these three facts is in dispute, ladies and gents?
gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Ooh! Ooh! I vote for “C”!

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Exactly which of these three facts is in dispute, ladies and gents?
gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:20 PM

Ooh! Ooh! I vote for “C”!

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:25 PM

Okay. I think I know how you’d answer this, Newtie. But if you believe established businesses are indifferent to letting new competition into the marketplace, what makes you think that they are thusly apathetic? Would it not be more reasonable to believe that they will work with and lobby legislators for rules that are to their advantage?

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:27 PM

It’s so cute that some people think that equal protection under the law means anything anymore. I bet you people believe in unicorns too.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:30 PM

Would it not be more reasonable to believe that they will work with and lobby legislators for rules that are to their advantage?
gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:27 PM

I wouldn’t call it “apathetic” so much as “over-protective” of their market share. Less competition would enable existing business to maintain their status quo and discourage innovation.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:32 PM

I wouldn’t call it “apathetic” so much as “over-protective” of their market share. Less competition would enable existing business to maintain their status quo and discourage innovation.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:32 PM

So they’re not apathetic. And they DO like barriers to entry for new competition. That is my thesis here, Newtie. Rent seeking is most certainly NOT equal protection under the law. There is not an industry in America that suffers from a dearth of regulation.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:35 PM

Huh?

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:23 PM

I’m talking about regulatory burdens, why some people think some shouldn’t have to abide by them and others do.

Exactly which of these three facts is in dispute, ladies and gents?

Hell I don’t even know what Virgina commercial transportation laws are. My point is, we all create these regulator burdens and then cry when it effects us. Uber to me sounds just like the idiot homeowner in Texas that is shocked to find out her property taxes keep skyrocketing. But we’re now supposed to give Uber a pass because they save us money or something.

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 9:36 PM

There is not an industry in America that suffers from a dearth of regulation.
gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:35 PM

And unyielding as well as loathe to accept different business models/concepts like we cited above with the casket and vault salesmen and the hair braiders. It’s long past time to review those regulations; unfortunately, once gubmint acquires a power, it is loathe to relinquish it.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:38 PM

I’m talking about regulatory burdens, why some people think some shouldn’t have to abide by them and others do.

lowandslow on June 5, 2014 at 9:36 PM

That’s not even what I’m saying. Get rid of the regulatory burdens — period. I dunno about drug testing specifically as an example, but there are definitely things that Virginia could do to enhance competition without threatening the safety of its cab customers. Only they won’t, because government would lose a very important constituency by pissing off the extant cab companies. It’s the old guild system all over again.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:38 PM

You would think the existing cab companies would welcome a reduction on their own regulatory burdens. But all too often, the big boys lobby for the costs they can absorb when they know their competition can’t. e.g. Walmart and Obamacare.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:39 PM

Of course… punish Uber… punish the people who used their own ingenuity to figure out a better service model for a marketplace in desperate need of something new because the hackney license people have been bilking the public, providing crappy service, and lining the pockets of local pols for years… and, and racism… or something.

dpduq on June 5, 2014 at 9:40 PM

I will say it again in case it didn’t get through:

I am for reducing everyone’s regulatory burden. Not just Uber and Lyft. Being the believer in true equal protection under the law, I believe if it is indeed easier for the little guy to get into the marketplace, even the big guys should be able to compete on the same level playing field. Problem is, the big guys know that the little guys will hurt them in a fair fight. A lot.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:43 PM

PnC, it’s not the drivers that appear to be the problem, but getting new companies up and running in the industry. What roadblocks gubmint hoops regulations does/did your company have to get through follow just to be able to do business *ahem!* legally?

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 8:24 PM

Sorry for the delay… I am working and actually posting from my car…

In my town, a city permit is required ($300, I think), a yearly vehicle inspection, and insurance requirements, no certain how draconian those are, but “standard” auto insurance is not sufficient. But in other areas of my county, there are no requirements at all… But if you want to work where most of the money is, these are the hoops you must jump thru.

I read a story online about uber and the city of Tampa, and I think I read that the city of Tampa requires a $50k vig to the taxi authority just for the company to operate… Uber doesn’t pay that, so they don’t approve of Uber… LOL

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 9:45 PM

I read a story online about uber and the city of Tampa, and I think I read that the city of Tampa requires a $50k vig to the taxi authority just for the company to operate… Uber doesn’t pay that, so they don’t approve of Uber… LOL

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 9:45 PM

As I alluded to upthread, my home town has very loose hack licensing requirements. A copy of the applicant’s driving record goes to the city council, and the applicant gets put on the agenda. The applicant must go to one city council meeting to pay his/her obeisance, and the license is issued in perpetuity. The only way it can be lost is with some sort of gross malfeasance (also as determined by the city council) or a DUI. There really aren’t any outstanding costs or surprises involved. Nor does there have to be.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:48 PM

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 9:45 PM

Don’t get caught. ;-)

That other, about the $50K bond (for lack of a better word) is more like what I thought. Considering the profession, I can see the vehicle inspection (where applicable, pursuant to state laws) and the higher vehicle insurance rates, and maybe a permit, but that bond…for what reason I can’t figure out why such a high bond, other than to fill someone else’s coffers while placing a very high bar to entry into the industry.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Don’t get caught. ;-)

That other, about the $50K bond (for lack of a better word) is more like what I thought. Considering the profession, I can see the vehicle inspection (where applicable, pursuant to state laws) and the higher vehicle insurance rates, and maybe a permit, but that bond…for what reason I can’t figure out why such a high bond, other than to fill someone else’s coffers while placing a very high bar to entry into the industry.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Also in my home state, one does not have to have vehicle insurance IF a bond is on file with the state department of transportation for some ridiculous amount. I dunno if it’s 25k or 50k or something like that, but it’s in the tens of thousands of dollars. Few people do it, and they’re all extremely wealthy.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 9:52 PM

I don’t understand. What are they doing that is illegal?

davidk on June 5, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Livery services (or taxis and limo’s) are state-licensed and fares are regulated. The only purpose for this is to provide a revenue stream to the state (or a municipality).

They ain’t greasin’ anyone’s skid, so they gotta stop.

BobMbx on June 5, 2014 at 9:53 PM

A case study would be “fingernail” shops. Once the Vietnamese started to corner the market on that, all of a sudden painting nails became a public health problem and requires training and licensing. Who approves the licenses? Most “professional service” boards are made up of the owners of existing businesses, who decide whether or not a competitor can open a business.

Its a real scam.

BobMbx on June 5, 2014 at 9:57 PM

That other, about the $50K bond (for lack of a better word) is more like what I thought. Considering the profession, I can see the vehicle inspection (where applicable, pursuant to state laws) and the higher vehicle insurance rates, and maybe a permit, but that bond…for what reason I can’t figure out why such a high bond, other than to fill someone else’s coffers while placing a very high bar to entry into the industry.

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 9:51 PM

Another hack told me once that the Taxi Authority in Tampa is a vestige of the Trafficanti crime family… Back in the 20s and 30s, the Trafficantis wanted to control all cash businesses… taxis, restaurants, coin vending, laundromats, etc. There are undercover taxi cops in unmarked cars that watch for taxis that haven’t paid the vig… they can arrest drivers and tow away cars…

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Uber and Lyft should hire illegal alien drivers. Then they wouldn’t have to worry about drivers licenses, insurance, arrest records, etc. etc.

Ruckus_Tom on June 5, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Another hack told me once that the Taxi Authority in Tampa is a vestige of the Trafficanti crime family… Back in the 20s and 30s, the Trafficantis wanted to control all cash businesses… taxis, restaurants, coin vending, laundromats, etc. There are undercover taxi cops in unmarked cars that watch for taxis that haven’t paid the vig… they can arrest drivers and tow away cars…

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Santo Trafficanti’s capos were caught up in the Donnie Brasco sting of the late 70′s/early 80′s. I don’t think they ever got Santo, but several of his closest “friends” went down hard.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 10:08 PM

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 9:59 PM

I do know that much of that *ahem!* industry regulation goes back to the days of FDR. Ever hear of Schecter Poultry Corp v United States?

Oh, to be able to listen to the oral arguements on THAT case lol!

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 10:10 PM

Santo Trafficanti’s capos were caught up in the Donnie Brasco sting of the late 70′s/early 80′s. I don’t think they ever got Santo, but several of his closest “friends” went down hard.

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 10:08 PM

Well, I don’t know if that organized crime connection is true or not, but it still only serves to enrich local government… I occasionally take people to Tampa airport, and I have been warned to not pick people up anywhere in the county… which is a shame, as it is a long deadhead ride back…

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 10:14 PM

What, exactly, are “passenger carrier laws” — or, for that matter, any gratuitous professional licensing requirements — good for? …Not much, except imposing prohibitive regulatory burdens on entrepreneurs and innovative newcomers and thereby protecting entrenched rent-seekers as well as their higher prices. In the long run, everybody loses, and in the meantime, the DMV is trying to deprive smartphone-wielding Virginians of an excellent, efficient, and explosively popular service that allows them to avoid having to wait out on dark street corners, hastily calculate cash tips, or fight over the proffered credit card machines with shady cab drivers.

I’m disappointed in you, Virginia.

None of that matters. It’s the law. We live under a government of law, not of men. And laws absolutely must always be followed at all times.

Unless you’re a Democrat, of course. That’s different.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 5, 2014 at 10:15 PM

None of that matters. It’s the law. We live under a government of law, not of men. And laws absolutely must always be followed at all times.

Unless you’re a Democrat, of course. That’s different.

There Goes the Neighborhood on June 5, 2014 at 10:15 PM

/ROFLMMFAO

gryphon202 on June 5, 2014 at 10:16 PM

which is a shame, as it is a long deadhead ride back…
PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 10:14 PM

Lonely…boring…unprofitable…

Which station do you listen to? 970WFLA. 107.9WSRZ or *gasp!* 89.7WUSF? I usually go with 970 or 107.9… ;-)

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 10:20 PM

I Heart Radio and the Mark Levin app…

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 10:27 PM

A couple of reasons… It is time consuming, it often is costly to the drivers, and in the case of some unscrupulous drivers, it is not cash, and therefore, taxable…

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Yeah, except you’re just explaining away their skirting the law. When I last traveled to New York, EVERY SINGLE CABBY lied to me and tried to claim their credit card readers weren’t working after I had entered the cab and they drove off. Oh yeah, their cab had a sign in it that stated per NY law, all cabbies had to accept credit cards.

I’d trust Uber drivers a heck of a lot more than cabbies. Your poor attempt at fingering Uber just fell apart. Cabbies skirted the law EVERY SINGLE TIME I rode with them.

dominigan on June 5, 2014 at 10:28 PM

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 10:27 PM

That’ll work…Oldest Dear Son and I have six stations we use on our car radio–two for me and four for him. Hey, it works ;-)

Newtie and the Beauty on June 5, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Carpetbagger governor…

Galtian on June 5, 2014 at 10:42 PM

Yeah, except you’re just explaining away their skirting the law. When I last traveled to New York, EVERY SINGLE CABBY lied to me and tried to claim their credit card readers weren’t working after I had entered the cab and they drove off. Oh yeah, their cab had a sign in it that stated per NY law, all cabbies had to accept credit cards.

I’d trust Uber drivers a heck of a lot more than cabbies. Your poor attempt at fingering Uber just fell apart. Cabbies skirted the law EVERY SINGLE TIME I rode with them.

dominigan on June 5, 2014 at 10:28 PM

Well, I can’t speak for all taxi drivers, but I follow the law rather scrupulously… I accept cards with Square, and I was an early adopter. Processing a card thru the company is time consuming, whereas Square is quick and painless. And I get a lot of rides that I would not otherwise get, so it seems like good business to me. 27 cents on a ten dollar fare is a no-brainer to me…

PointnClick on June 5, 2014 at 10:47 PM

You couldn’t make this up, but in London where there was / is a traditionally very hard street map test called The Knowledge, a few years ago there was a discussion about a convicted violent serial rapist ‘s “civil-rights ” to take it and be a taxi driver. As I recall he won. Now why would a serial rapist want to be a taxi driver hm? So much for regulatory safeguards.

Esperanza on June 6, 2014 at 6:48 AM

Why doesn’t the DMV just look the other way until the laws are changed, you know, like the DOJ.

Kissmygrits on June 6, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Erika, I certainly don’t know what you mean about VA being full of “common sense”. It has been trending NoVA for a decade now. One of my first “local” votes was to kill the one transportation bond issue that would have sent millions to NoVA and left everyone south of Richmond with almost nothing.

As to this issue – I tend to think they’re doing the right thing. If they are equally enforcing the law while folks are trying to fix the law, then they really are doing it right.

As to what Uber et al are doing wrong, I would suggest it’s likely a driver licensing issue or a vehicle licensing issue. I can’t find anything on the VA DMV site about any special requirements, however. (And, given the horrid state of the commercial taxis I see around here, I find it hard to believe there are any extra safety requirements levied on taxis than on individual motorists.)

GWB on June 6, 2014 at 9:32 AM

What, exactly, are “passenger carrier laws” — or, for that matter, any gratuitous professional licensing requirements — good for? …Not much, except imposing prohibitive regulatory burdens on entrepreneurs and innovative newcomers and thereby protecting entrenched rent-seekers as well as their higher prices.

You answered your own question, Erika. That is the only reason licensing non-professional professions exists. Otherwise the barriers to entry are too low and anyone can do it as Uber and Lyft are proving.

earlgrey on June 6, 2014 at 1:07 PM

As I understand them, the only “innovative” things Uber and Lyft have to offer is:

1. Dispatching methodology

2. Fare methodology

IMHO, anything else which regulations require SHOULD properly apply to them also, including:

1. Adequate protection for passengers (including insurance & security measures such as background checks, drug tests, driving records, proper identification of vehicles to prevent impersonation by criminals, and vehicle safety requirements)

2. Adequate protection for drivers, including some kind of tracking.

A re-examination of the laws and regulations governing the industry seems to me to be a healthy result for all concerned.

landlines on June 6, 2014 at 1:14 PM