Sunday, January 12, 2014

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

Money Line:

"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 . . .

17 Comments:

Anonymous said...

A better example is that their party bus line failed so the city is building a 100 million dollar fixed rail version too.

Anonymous said...

Take another bite of the Troy turd sandwich.

Anonymous said...

The photo of those guys makes me want to avoid their cabs. They really look like jerks.

Anonymous said...

what would make the better news would be to look at ALL the businesses that the city (phillip yelder and sheila williams) endorses and pushes contracts for, this city just sucks and dont even try the sunshine law here, it doesn't apply to that office, even in contracting, same people get the same deals and you spend your time like a monkey on a string kissing ass for crumbs .. and those two sit up there and grin. this is a black owned and run city and these blacks happen to be bigger racists than any people I've ever met

Anonymous said...

K.C. has always been at the forefront of graft.

jodi hirolla said...

+1 9:36,9:58

Anonymous said...

Wow! Self-serving power players and moguls pushing their way into the city hall trough.
Is KCMO world class yet?

Anonymous said...

Bill George pay off your city loan, guess Tony forgot to dig into that question some. Now the city is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on another trolley folly that will fail as well.

Anonymous said...

Next the City will contract with one of these guys to manage the toy train. I find it hard to accept that in America everyone believes in the free market system except the government. No one else hands out these monopolies and the government almost never forces them to break up. Whether it be companies that own 600 radio stations, MGE, Comcast, Time Warner or HCA Hospitals the government is continuously protecting them at the expense of the free market and supposedly free Americans.

As we have learned, when monopolies win we end up paying $43.00 a month for $10.00 worth of natural gas, $70.00 a month for $20.00 worth of internet service, $100.00 a month for $15.00 worth of TV service, $7,000.00 a day for a hospital room, $40.00 a month and $249.99 for a $25.00 computer operating system. Oh and lets not forget the attempt to bundle your $40.00 a month phone service that can be had with free long distance calling and better reliability for $6.95 a month.

In KC, if you are from out of town, you often get the long ride in a cab to the airport with extra charges for damn near anything and everything. Do we really want to continue letting these guys control the industry in KC?

Anonymous said...

Folly Trolley Fail all the way around!

Anonymous said...

11:19 nails it. Watch Bill George this Thursday to see how hard he fights a change to an ordinance that would let non-profits help elderly and disabled people with transportation. Which council people will vote George's way? The ones who take big contributions.

Anonymous said...

Tony sing this to the "La Cucaracha" Tune-

My name is Paco
I eat a taco
I make a dollar everyday.
I go to miss Lucy
She give me some pussy.
She take my dollar away hey!

Anonymous said...

This town's cab service sucks. It sucks because there is no competition, and the Monopoly owners have been keeping prices high and service rare at least since Dan Cofran was on Council.

Anonymous said...

You are a commie for questioning city Hall!

Anonymous said...

Nothing insures safety like a monopoly

Anonymous said...

There is no such thing as a "free market". It's a myth.

Monopoly is the end result of loosely regulated capitalism.

Anonymous said...

Oh, lordy, did you adjust your tinfoil hat while writing that?

So, the Somalis don't want to work for George and complain that taxi service in KCMO sucks. Notice that the Somalis are driving the taxis in KCMO that provide sucky service?

As for small companies having to raise fares, stop and think about it. If there are more taxis in the city--and there's not suddenly going to be lot more business just because there are more taxis--then each company will get fewer passengers. The large companies will still get most of them, so the small companies will have to try to survive on few passengers, which means...wait for it...fares have to increase so the small companies can make money. Who woulda thunk it?