The Public Utility Commission’s arguments in defense of its crackdown on ride-share services ring hollow.
I have had some positive experiences with Yellow Cab drivers who were courteous and professional. I have also had Yellow Cab drivers who drove dangerously, had unsanitary cabs and took circuitous routes to my destination. When I request a ride from Yellow Cab, I have no way of knowing whether I am going to get one of the professional drivers or an unscrupulous driver.
Worst of all, when I call Yellow Cab I have no way of knowing if a cab is actually coming to pick me up, as I frequently have to call multiple times to renew my request for a ride. When I request a ride from a ride-share company, I am informed of the name of the driver who is coming to pick me up. I can look at the driver’s profile to see how other riders have rated him or her, and I can cancel the ride if there are negative reviews.
If I am dissatisfied with my experience, I can quickly and easily submit a complaint. These “unregulated” companies provide an experience that holds drivers accountable for their actions, in addition to being more convenient for the consumer.
The regulations the PUC is enforcing do much more to protect entrenched interests than to protect consumers. When the speed of regulation can’t keep up with the speed of innovation, the regulations should be discarded rather than vigorously enforced to stifle competition.