from the competition-is-bad dept
Back in June, we wrote about how cab drivers in Tampa Bay were trying to get the city council to outlaw
new competitors in the form of free ad-supported transportation from some owners of electric vehicles. Like so many cities, Tampa Bay's cab system operates on a license system, which the city and the existing cabbies work closely to limit, and do make sure prices remain artificially high. However, the free electric vehicles had thought they got around this by noting that the permit system only applied to cabs for hire
. Since they weren't charging, they weren't covered. Until now.
EEJ alerts us to the news that Hillsborough County transportation officials have announced that the free electric vehicles need to get permits as well
-- except, oh by the way, there aren't any available. Too bad. At least one of the electric vehicle operators plans to go to court to fight this
, but it may be an uphill battle. While the officials are hiding behind "safety" claims, the truth is that it's a typical move of regulatory capture by the cab companies, limiting competition so they can keep their prices artificially high and avoid any sort of business model innovation.