Uber, Lyft Are Great for Consumers? Dream On

Catherine Rampell: Don't expect this ride-sharing competition to continue long term
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 3, 2014 1:09 PM CDT
Uber, Lyft Are Great for Consumers? Dream On
A Lyft passenger catches a ride in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

The taxi business, of course, hates ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft that are popping up everywhere, but they can only be good news for consumers, right? At the Washington Post, Catherine Rampell pokes a few holes in that line of thinking. Yes, the current abundance of options likely translates into cheaper fares for travelers, but think long term. "For all the rhetoric about the value of competition, the goal of this price war is to neutralize the competition and become the only livery game in town," she writes. And when one emerges as king, guess what happens to fares then?

Uber and Lyft are already ruthlessly going after each other's business, and complaints from drivers in both services who feel exploited and underpaid are surfacing. Each also has managed to dodge insurance and safety laws that normal taxis must abide by. "For all their bellyaching about the bullies of Big Taxi, Uber and Lyft are becoming pretty big bullies themselves," writes Rampell. Consumers can hope for better, cheaper services all they want, but they'll "just be trading in one monopoly—loathed Big Taxi—for another, less regulated one." Click for Rampell's full column, in which she's skeptical of the environmental arguments often cited by advocates. (More Uber stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.