After watching corporations use monopolies to take advantage of consumers, many people have come to see the advantages that competition can have. Without competition, there is no reason for companies to offer better services or lower prices.
In recent years, one of the biggest battles between organizations trying to prevent independent entities from competing with them is the rivalry between taxicabs and newer transportation services such as Uber. Taxi companies feel so threatened by these services that they are now taking legal action.
Most people usually correlate restraining orders with preventing situations of sexual harassment or elder abuse, the latter of which affects those over the age of 65. However, they are now commonplace between corporations and their competitors.
According to fox2now.com, the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission (MTC) in St. Louis, Missouri, filed a temporary restraining order against Uber. In the suit, the commission contended 19 of Uber’s drivers to background checks that were not conducted by Uber itself.
“Missouri state law requires every vehicle that transports individuals to have a background check of the individual, its state law,” said Chuck Billings, the attorney for the Taxicab Commission.
They found that 11 out of the 19 drivers didn’t have the commercial driver’s licenses that are required by law. None of the drivers checked had taxicab commission licenses required by the city, either, and two drivers in particular were found to be in worse circumstances.
One of the drivers was found to have a previous larceny conviction, and another had an outstanding warrant simply for not paying a $95 traffic fine for improper use of signal lights.
In order to defend themselves, Uber released information showing they gave 5,000 rides just during their first weekend in operation in St. Louis, 2,000 of which were between 10:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m. and thereby reduced the risk of people driving under the influence. The Taxicab Commission averages only 300 rides in a weekend.
Uber then filed their own lawsuit against MTC in September for anti-competitive conduct in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, for permissions to operate freely for two weeks. However, their request was denied.
Even though Uber has been able to find solace in many other Metropolitan areas in America, they’re having troubles overseas as well.
China’s transport ministry recently released a draft regulation that addresses ride-hailing apps such as Uber and their other independent competitor Didi Kuaidi, Quartz reports. Together they currently give around seven million rides a day across more than 300 cities in China.
These new regulations are attempting to force Uber and Didi to operate like traditional taxi dispatchers, which is a radical change from their current business practices.
However, the draft at no point specifically names Uber or Didi, but rather “online pre-booked taxis.”
This suggest that the Chinese government may want to rein these two companies in to their existing transportation infrastructure to profit from their success rather than bring it to a halt.
Both companies remain willing to cooperate with the government to avoid more serious consequences.
“This draft of the proposed regulation is still at the stage of public consultation,” explained a Didi spokesperson. “We will give responsible feedback and recommendations to the authorities, after studying opinions and responses from experts, industry players, and most importantly passenger and driver communities.”
These regulations and lawsuits certainly present obstacles for these independent transportation services, but they do not yet spell the end of Uber and Didi.