In writing with Logos it was challenging to pick which aspects of Logos I wanted to incorporate into this piece. I used Policy, Possibility, and Quality to assure the audience that ride sharing is a good idea. First I pointed out how ride sharing companies within the industry compete to provide a better service. Then I focused on the possibility and freedom ride sharing promises to bring to everyone involved. Lastly, I mentioned how government and taxi unions collude in licensing practices to stunt innovation and depreciating service quality for the consumers. I don’t want to live in a world with regulations ruining labor markets and consumer demand, but it appears coercion has that economic effect on the market. The two companies have been operating for a while now, and anything weird a cynic insists on happening will be anomic and trivial at best. “What if” games are lame and logical arguments are meant to focus on the demands of the common majority of circumstances, not the outliers.

Driver Referral Code:
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Ridesharing

Have you ever had a friend hit you up out of the blue asking for a ride? Regardless of whether you gave them the ride, the market demand was still there. Imagine how many people carpool, not because they want to save money on gas, but because they want to also save money on a car, car insurance, registration, inspection, and maintenance. Uber and Lyft are two ridesharing companies that are working to meet the demand for affordable transportation within urban, suburban, and rural areas. Both have developed apps for passengers to acquire rides wherever they are and at any time they wish to request them. The difference between what these two companies are doing, compared regular taxi services, stems from taking advantage of the unregulated natural structure of free-market capitalism.

You see, some cynics assume everything should be heavily regulated under capitalism to ensure equality within the market. This could not be further from the truth as it applies to ridesharing. Yes, we want safe and affordable transportation, but we also want drivers who want to be behind the wheel. Cab drivers are forced to work under contracts that keep them on the clock for long hours with dispatchers dictating which fares they have to pick up. With Uber and Lyft this whole process is replaced by GPS indicators that notify all drivers within a certain area of requested fares of a highlighted radius. On slow days drivers will head to highlighted radiuses to be eligible to gain fares, but most will usually carve out their own areas to sit and wait for fares. This gives ride sharing companies the ability to be everywhere at once and automates fare dispatching. Even if some areas are busier than others, drivers can choose whether or not to work in those areas. This means that most drivers won’t be competing for fares in the busiest parts of the city because they can try elsewhere and be just as successful with less drivers around to compete with. Some of these drivers, the ones with the most fares, will actually pick them up in unexpected places where other drivers are not willing to go.

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Where taxi drivers have to work all day or night, through dispatch or by people waving them down; Uber and Lyft drivers are free to work whenever and wherever. Whenever you want a ride someone is willing to provide it, because there are no set schedules or set routes to drive so plenty of ride sharers operate in most cities where the tread is just now catching on. At this point someone could be worrying about the likelihood of crime or injury to come from rider sharers, which I believe is cynical and unrealistic. The drivers of most taxi cabs are just as much a stranger to you as the drivers from Uber and Lyft, so why would it be any sketchier. Taxi services and ridesharing companies all have a deep incentive to replace bad drivers and to refuse service to criminal customers. The exception to these ridesharing companies is that they let drivers and passengers rate each other, and that information is made public to everyone.

In fact, if either one has a bad experience then the companies has programmed the automated dispatch system to never pair the two up again. Therefore the best drivers get the most rides and bad drivers have complaints made public; thus they become less likely to get fares. Customers get to choose their driver based on previous customers’ ratings, along with the car they wish to travel in. While the drivers get to decide if they want to take fares in the first place. Another convenient feature of ridesharing is that payments are done digitally through credit cards, so customer information is actually better known than just anyone on the street hailing a cab. This reduces the chances of drivers being robbed because they don’t need to carry much cash on them and any criminal passengers will leave a paper trail. Also, tipping is done through the app at the same time a passenger can rate a driver.

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However, like a horse and buggy trying to street race an automobile, taxi unions want to use the violence of the state to end this voluntary arrangement. These parasites don’t want others to compete with them for rides and use the idea of licensing to restrict competition. This means that the people who want to simply drive others around will have to jump through bureaucratic hoops, only to be denied a license if they are not associated and paying dues to a secondary regulating body. The government and unions are in cahoots to make sure the customer gets a less satisfactory service at the cost of a bigger bite to their wallets. Some unfortunate drivers for Lyft and Uber have had their cars seized and have been fined thousands of dollars for operating without a taxi license. Can someone tell me the difference needed between a taxi license and a driver’s license?

Well folks if you did give your friend that ride when he called you out of the blue, and you just happened to accept some gas money for it, then you have criminally competed within the commercial transportation industry. I think people should be able to make money with the means that they have available to them, and not based on some cut they are willing to give to the government or some union. Should it be illegal to give someone a ride in Richmond for under $3.50 a mile? I did the math and it is actually more affordable to take a bike taxi to where ever you need to go than to call up an actual cab.

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Did you guys see South Park this week?

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It was great, and Mimsy was my favorite character from that episode. Around 3:45 minutes in is the union meeting where he drops knowledge about free-market competition. I hope I’ve done justice to that argument within this article.

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Here is an article from my school newspaper talking about the ride sharing phenomenon hitting Richmond, and here is a video some friends from Liberate RVA made.

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