TKC SUNDAY QUESTION: DOES CITY HALL CAB MONOPOLY ENDORSEMENT KILL THE FREE MARKET IN KANSAS CITY?!?!
Currently there's a question of cab fares and fairness on the streets of Kansas City.
To wit . . .
KANSAS CITY CABBIES VOW TO CONTINUE THEIR FIGHT AGAINST CITY HALL REGULATION CRACKDOWNS AMID AN ONGOING COURT BATTLE!!!
The argument is basically that City Hall is limiting cab permits to favor Yellow Cab and Kansas City Power player Bill George.
Meanwhile, not so long ago TKC toured Yellow Cab facilities and talked to Bill George about this issue . . .
Pictured above from left to right, Kansas City Transportation Group CEO Bill George, Westport Mogul Bill Nigro and KCTG Regional Vice President Terry O'Toole.
Mr. George touted public safety considerations as the primary and often overlooked reason cab licensees are tightly regulated in Kansas City.
"A lot of people don't realize that we monitor just about every detail including GPS locations of our cabs with technology that these start-up single drivers companies can't offer. Safety is our primary concern and a lot of laymen don't understand that aspect of a transit business," Mr. George said.
Mr. George also hinted that this free market rhetoric of the cabbies protesting might not match with reality for fares offered to the public in the aftermath of opening up regulations.
"Sure, the theory is that offering more licenses will lower rates but in reality these companies will, in fact, have no choice but to raise rates in order to turn a profit."
The theory espoused by Mr. George seems to hint that price collusion, even among small time operators, is also a very natural aspect of free market economies . . . But that's TKC taking the next step in that line of thought and not a statement from Mr. George.
However . . .
The REAL question here is . . .. For reasons that might have more to do with expediency than favoritism, City Hall does in fact ENDORSE A TAXI MONOPOLY in Kansas City. Given this clear example of local biz favoritism, does this action demean other claims by KCMO that our town is biz friendly?!?!
Anyhoo . . .
The reality here is that the Somalis don't want to work for Bill George and their continuing a legal battle that remains mostly underground but now is getting play from alternative media.
Here's the word from the Reason blog:
Reason: Cab Laws Favor Existing Firms, But That's OK, Says Court
"In an e-mail Tuesday, Mark Goodman, the cab drivers’ attorney, told Watchdog that a motion for rehearing before the Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has been filed.
Last month, that court rejected a bid by a group of 250 taxicab drivers to open Kansas City’s market to more competition, saying that while the rules promote favoritism they aren’t unconstitutional.
The Kansas City Taxicab Drivers Association had argued the city’s permitting system unconstitutionally protects existing taxicab companies, resulting in increased fares and lower quality service.
The nine companies that own all of the available taxi permits “have fiefdom-like control on the Kansas City taxicab market,” according to the cabbies’ suit. Two companies — Yellow Cab and City Cab — control almost 80 percent of the 547 permits."
Meanwhile . . .
A KICK-ASS KANSAS CITY INSIDER GIVES US EXCLUSIVE PERSPECTIVE ON HOW TECHNOLOGY MIGHT HOLD THE KEY TO MORE COMPETITION AMONG KANSAS CITY TAXIS!!!
Here's the word . . .
"Yellow Cab's main advantage is the 'DDS'. The super shuttles are eating cab drivers' lunch. If another company gets a digital dispatching system, the playing field will be more level. Cab drivers are complaining that Yellow's system is all messed up and is a joke. People who know nothing about cab driving are making changes that are making it hard for cab drivers to work effectively and earn any decent money."
This drama will continue to unfold on local streets while mainstream media politicos seem dedicated to upholding the status quo and the interests of politically connected patrons.
Developing . . .