The Democratic National Convention is in for a wild ride in Philadelphia. Taxi and limo drivers are threatening to boycott driving passengers to the DNC unless regulators “crack down” on Uber and Lyft.
One taxi driver said they will “shut down the road, we’ll block the roads, we’ll shut down the airport and train station.” Taxi drivers are upset with the regulatory system in Philadelphia because they are required to pay yearly licensing fees to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, undergo criminal background checks and comply with 74 pages worth of regulations. Taxi drivers want Uber and Lyft drivers to be treated the same.
But equality under the law does not mean subjecting everyone to the same extortionist laws. Instead, Philadelphia regulators should deregulate the taxi industry. Requiring licenses, fees, criminal background checks and other regulations creates a regulatory regime that makes it hard for drivers to earn a living. Good policy would be to allow all drivers the right to work and earn a living without needing to get permission from unelected bureaucrats.
This would not be the first time Philadelphia taxi drivers have protested by blocking traffic in the streets, but if they do it again during the DNC, attendees will have no choice but to use Uber and Lyft. Ironically, the delegates of the Democratic Party will have to rely on the free market to get to their own convention.