Thursday, November 13, 2014

Metro Council takes up regulation of Uber and Lyft.

The Budget & Finance Committee and the Traffic, Parking and Transportation Committee held a joint meeting last night to discuss Ordinance No. BL2014-952 which regulates non-taxi passenger vehicles for hire, such as Uber and Lyft.  Representatives from the Transportation Licensing Commission and some of the companies to be regulated were in attendance to provide information on the proposed changes, as well as to answer questions following the presentation. I was not there so I don't know what happened. Since The Tennessean is so thinly staffed now, I doubt they had a reporter covering the meeting. If Metro Channel Three post a video of the meeting I will watch it and report on it and post it if it is interesting. It is my hope that the Metro Council does not revert back to their anti-competition, price-fixing position and that any regulations are reasonable and not designed to limit expansion of Uber or Lyft or drive them out of business or prohibit future innovation or expansion of transportation options.

Yesterday in writing a post about how the Houston Texas airport was following Nashville's lead and accommodating ride-share companies at their airport, I summarized how at first Nashville was hostile to new forms of livery service and had attempted to prohibit innovation in the Nashville market but then did an about face. I don't suspect that the about face resulted from a rejection of good-ole-boy crony capitalism and price-fixing but was a pragmatic response to a need for these new forms of service.

BL2014-952 is a 34 page bill and I have not had the opportunity to read it.  I hope Uber and Lyft and their attorneys are engaged in this process and I hope some of the Council members who are conservative and believe in capitalism will look carefully at this bill and insure that it is not regulations that stifles competition and innovation and imposes price-fixing.  If there is anything objectionable in this bill I hope those would care are engaged in the process now. BL2014-952 is only on First Reading this coming Tuesday.  It is much easier to stop a bad bill before it is passed rather than try to get it repealed or overturned in the courts once it is passed.

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