Last December, I published my annual list of predictions for the coming year. Number 9 on the list was “Networked Traffic” and I wrote:
The labor union representing Munich taxi drivers will seek an injunction against the social networks claiming they enable individual drivers to act as taxi companies and should therefore be subject to similar regulations and taxes.
Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article entitled “Taxi Apps Face Bumpy Road” and it explains how soaring demand for non-traditional taxi services (such as those provided by Uber Technologies, Zimride, Sidecar and Tickengo) is causing cities to give serious consideration to regulating these enterprising new start-ups.
The effort is short-sighted because what these companies provide in additional to convenient, affordable taxi service is reduced traffic congestion in crowded cities.
Think of it this way: Today, thousands of cars today possess empty seats. If the driver could “rent” out these empty seats not only would the owner have the opportunity to recover some of the cost of operating that car, it would also offer the city an opportunity to remove a potential vehicle from the road.
The end result would be not only more parking spots but freer flowing traffic.
Cities should go from red-lighting these innovative new “taxi app” services to green-lighting them.
Sure traditional cabbies (and the fees city regulators collect from them) might take a hit but everybody else in the city will win.
Interested in learning about how some of futurist Jack Uldrich’s other predictions turned out? Check out these recent posts: