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Sunday, July 19, 2015

How Uber is ending the dirty dealings behind Toronto's cab business

From the Globe and Mail:
...Uber operates in 300 cities worldwide. It has built a better mousetrap, and the world is beating a path to its door.

After my investigation of the industry, my name was mud among the city’s taxi plate holders, who were worried about losing their golden goose. One woman, who inherited a pair of plates from her father, called me a “communist” for recommending that the taxi plate system be abolished. “This is free enterprise,” she declared.

In fact, Toronto’s taxi plate system is anything but free enterprise. Instead, it is based on the artificial restriction of a natural market, and the granting of licences to a fixed number of participants. Even those who paid top dollar for a plate used to enjoy an annual return of more than 12 per cent. And for those who inherited plates, the return was manna from heaven.

On the other side of the coin were drivers and customers. Passengers paid too much for rides in old junkers, and drivers found themselves trapped in a system that skimmed the lion’s share of their revenues. Many have compared the Toronto cab industry to the feudal system, which is probably not far off the mark...

h/t BCF 

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