Yesterday, the Virginia DMV sent cease and desist letters to popular ridesharing services Uber and Lyft. In neighboring D.C., Uber has run into trouble with regulatory officials multiple times, but this latest move is surprising because Virginia generally has a much more sane regulatory environment. Over at e21, Jared Meyer explains what how regulators and the taxi cab cartels are colluding to stifle transportation innovation:
These letters were not sent in the interest of public safety nor of Virginia’s residents. Instead, they were sent because Virginia wants to protect entrenched interests (existing cab companies). It refuses to allow Virginia travelers to reap the benefits of new technology.
Virginia claims that Uber and Lyft cannot continue operating as taxi companies since they have not received permission from the government to do so. Just one problem—Uber and Lyft are not taxi companies.
Uber and other ridesharing services do not own the cars their drivers use. They provide the technological platform and support to connect drivers and riders. Virginia refuses to recognize this, even though over 125 cities worldwide allow consumers and drivers to embrace the benefits of ridesharing services.
Applying regulatory standards that were codified before the Internet is no way to foster economic growth.
Read the rest here.