An example of why Sidecar and Lyft are Better than the Existing Taxi System
We’re seeing it everywhere. Regulators and city/state attorney’s are trying to stop the rise of the Direct Economy (from AirBnB to Kickstarter to Sidecar), a new economic system that is making it easier for all of us to make an income and get the goods/services we want at the price/quantity/bundle we want.
It’s easy to understand why. The direct economy cuts out the middlemen and much of the corruption that makes these middlemen rich and that change makes it hard to rig the system for the benefit of a few.
Here’s an example.
Boston, like most big cities, has a taxi system built that based on medallions. Each medallion allows the owner to operate a taxi. The owners use the medallions to build taxi fleets, which are then rented out to drivers. Boston has 1,825 taxi medallions in use for its billion dollar taxi market.
These medallions have been bought, sold and fought over for decades. The result is a system that is incredibly corrupt (here’s a Boston Globe investigative series on corruption in the taxi system). It gets pretty ugly. Recently, the owner of the biggest taxi fleet — Edward Tutunjian — was caught forcing his drivers to pay bribes and kickbacks in order to rent taxis (even though he makes tens of millions of $$ a year). As a result of the pressure, he tried to cash out a bit by selling 200 of his 372 medallions at a going price of at least $600,000 each (!).
Why shouldn’t it be possible for you, armed with an online service, to turn a bit of free time, a good reputation, and an idle car into some extra income????