One of the great things about the web, obviously, is that it allows for much more efficient communication that opens up new and useful offerings. For example: the web offers the ability to find other people traveling to the same general place you're heading and to set up a convenient carpool. It's good for the environment. It's good for traffic. It just makes a lot of sense. Unless, of course, you're a bus company and you're so afraid that people will use such a system rather than paying to take the bus. That's what happened up in Ontario, as earlier this year we wrote about a bus company that was trying to shut down PickupPal
, an online carpooling service, for being an unregulated transportation company. TechCrunch
points us to the news that the Ontario transportation board has sided with the bus company and fined PickupPal
. It's also established a bunch of draconian rules that any user in Ontario must follow if it uses the service -- including no crossing of municipal boundaries -- meaning the service is only good within any particular city's limits.
It's better than being shut down completely, and the service can still operate elsewhere around the world, but this is yet another case where we see regulations, that are supposedly put in place to improve things for consumers, do the exact opposite. Just like we've seen elsewhere
, you get regulatory capture, where an established industry uses the regulations not for their intended purpose, but to actually drastically limit the competition.