The End of the Taxicab Mafia’s Control
As you may remember, Uber briefly set up shop in Nevada last year to quite a lot of fan fare. Within hours of them starting their service, there were reports of the local taxicab authority pulling over and ticketing Uber drivers. Despite those tactics, the service continued for about a month before the courts shut them down. (I was able to sneak in a ride before the shutdown.)
Since then Uber and Lyft have both been advocating for a change in the law. Thankfully it seems like that is now going to happen. Early into the morning yesterday, the Nevada Legislature passed Assembly Bill 175, which will make it possible for ride sharing services to operate in the state. The governor is expected to sign the bill soon.
Uber told the Las Vegas Review Journal, “Nevadans are the winners today. Thanks to the bipartisan leadership of both houses of the Nevada State Legislature, Uber is well on its way to returning to the Silver State, bringing with it thousands of jobs and greater access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation options for all Nevadans.”
Under the rules set forth in the new bill, drivers will be required to carry a $1.5 million dollar insurance policy whenever carrying passengers. Uber and similar services will also be regulated by the Public Utilities Commission and not the Transportation Authority.
This is really great news for both Nevadans and visitors. For quite a long time the taxi companies here have dominated the marketplace with a subpar product and dishonest drivers. I have a family member who used to be a taxi driver in Las Vegas. He was eventually fired because he wasn’t booking enough business. He would have the same number of riders, but he wouldn’t ripoff passengers by taking them the long way.
I have used Uber and Lyft in enough cities to know they aren’t perfect. Drivers are often unprofessional as well, but at least there is a lot more transparency. Add in the convenience of their apps and the addition of more competition and there is no way anyone can say this isn’t the best move for everyone. Well everyone except the taxi companies.
Once the governor signs the bill, it will no doubt take some time for everything to get up and running. Uber already has some sort of an organization here, so I would expect them to launch first. Before that happens they have to apply with the Public Utilities Commission. Hopefully that process moves along quickly so the summer crowds will have another option for getting around town.