Uber Now Banned In Italy... Because Competition Is Bad?
from the what? dept
The absolute scariest cab ride of my life happened in Rome a few years back, and I'd prefer not to relive that experience, but apparently I might not have much of a choice next time I'm in Italy, as the country recently banned Uber completely, claiming that it was "unfair competition." Now, let's be clear: there are many, many reasons to not like or trust Uber. You certainly have every right to not like the way it goes about its business or the way it treats drivers. You can refuse to use the service all you want and you can tweet #DeleteUber and whatever else you like... and yet you still should be concerned about this.
Uber isn't being blocked in Italy because of its business practices. It's being blocked in Italy because the taxicabs there don't like the competition, and a court has ruled that those cabs shouldn't face competition. Again, no matter what you think of Uber's own business practices, it's pretty damn clear that everywhere that Uber or similar services operate, what everyday people tend to get are better options for transportation. It makes it easier for people to get a ride when they need it, it adds much needed supply to the market, and it tends to be a better overall experience (and there's at least some evidence that it also prevents drunk driving).
In the end, when it comes to innovation, our general stance around here is that what you need more than anything else is competition. Competition drives innovation. It drives better customer service. Having courts come in and block competition in favor of an organization famous for limiting the number of competitors in the market is never going to be a good thing. If you're upset by Uber's business practices, target those business practices. But doing an outright ban on competition doesn't seem to help anyone, other than the legacy taxi providers.