How Many Taxi Companies Does It Take to Screw In a Lightbulb?

January 17, 2012 at 11:55am By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Add OMALiNK to the ever-lengthening list of companies applying to offer cab service in Lincoln. Lincoln’s cab situation has quickly gone from one type of farce to another.

I’m not sure what the Public Service Commission should do at this point. They can’t let all of these companies operate. Er, well, they can, but then one is forced to wonder what it is the PSC is good for. The argument for PSC involvement is that they help maintain quality and consistency while avoiding the sort of vicious “excessive” competition that harms service providers and customers alike. Of course, as we all know the flip side to that is we’ve ended up with a PSC-enforced monopoly all these years and customers have—you guessed it!—been screwed. So whatever it is the PSC has been up to, it hasn’t been helping customers.

Neither can the PSC get too picky about which new companies to allow to operate. That just sets up all kinds of legal battles if it’s done incorrectly. If they let in one company, how do they choose which one? Do they let in two? Three? Lincoln clearly isn’t large enough to support all of the applicants—at least not on a full-time basis. But choosing a magic number, and choosing which company(ies) fit the bill, won’t be easy.

I wish I had a better foundation to form an opinion about what happens next, but having only taken two cab rides in my life (in San Diego and Dublin) I don’t feel particularly knowledgeable about taxi service. I want to yell “Economic freedom! Cabs for all!”, but reason tells me that’s a dangerous proposition. If the “let ‘em all in” approach were guaranteed to only, at worst, hurt the companies themselves, then I wouldn’t be quite so concerned. However I don’t think that’s where the harm would end.

What do you suggest we do about this?

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The Comments

JT January 17, 2012 at 2:45pm

The good news is that cab service cannot get any worse.

Fletch January 17, 2012 at 4:16pm

I say let them in and let the market decide. I still don’t totally get why this is under the umbrella of the PSC, but oh well.

Errandbug Restaurant Delivery January 17, 2012 at 10:16pm

Let America do it’s thing.  Government control of just about anything makes it worse.  Let the companies in and let the consumers decide the winners and losers.  That is how free enterprise is supposed to work. 

Just like in Child Welfare.  A century ago the Churches and private groups took care of those in need.  I tend to feel those religious organizations cared a lot more than the governement in general about the welfare of those children.  Then governement decided it was in the welfare business.  Sometimes I account this change to the move of Americans away from their faiths.  I greatly applaud the Lincoln City Mission for being a faith based group that has been very determined to not fall under the government umbrella of controls.

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