Activism in the for-hire vehicle industry is heating up again, because of four things:
1. Continuing financial problems of the taxi and black-car industry;
2. Worsening traffic congestion in Manhattan
3. The public suicide of a driver last week; and
4. Mayor Bill de Blasio’s comments Friday about revisiting the problem he once tried to address by capping Uber’s growth.
A vigil will be held this morning at City Hall by taxi drivers and taxi-base owners, and the City Council committee overseeing the industry will hold a hearing that could draw some hard-hitting and emotional testimony.
But it’s an open question whether regulators can fix the myriad problems or if this painful episode of regulated capitalism will just have to run its course. There are so many drivers now on the road that full-timers have to work longer hours than they once did to get by, and traffic is more congested than ever.
Drivers do leave the business every month, but just as many or more join. It is not clear how long that can go on, but it is almost certainly not forever. (Crain’s)
- New York’s City Hall needs to act.