They might not have thought this one through.
Across Europe, taxi drivers are being increasingly outcompeted by Uber – an app-based ride-sharing service. Frustrated, the London-based Licensed Taxi Drivers Association is demanding that the government protect them from competition by banning Uber.
To get the attention of authorities, taxi drivers went on strike on Wednesday, promising to cause “chaos, congestion and confusion” until the government bails them out.
This may not have been the best way to demand government intervention, however, as Uber’s sign-ups have now jumped 850%.
Derrick Hoare of the LTDA does seem to have at least one understandable concern. “We have to jump through hoops to be regulated,” says Hoare, “and we don’t feel people involved in these new apps are being subjected to the same regulations.”
Hoare has simply settled on the wrong solution: since government is the problem, he ought to demand less of it, not more.
One of LTDA’s concerns is that licensed taxi drivers may work only a limited number of hours, while Uber drivers may work unlimited hours. This would be an easy problem to solve: do what former taxi driver Walter Williams has always suggested and deregulate the taxi industry.