By Andrew Bender : forbes – excerpt
From coast to coast and overseas, ride share companies like Uber and Lyft are kicking taxi ass, and taxi drivers are urging governments to impose restrictions on them. But this week, the city of Long Beach, Calif. took the opposite tack: encouraging taxis to operate more like ride share companies.
It’s almost too simple. Because fares and other conditions for the taxi trade are regulated by municipalities, operators can’t move with the market on pricing and ease of use. William Rouse, general manager of Long Beach Yellow Cab, the city’s sole licensed taxi operator, blames the decline in taxi ridership on “increased competition from businesses that don’t face the same regulatory burdens.” Read: Uber and Lyft.
On the other hand, says Long Beach’s Mayor Robert Garcia “Uber and Lyft are both popular in Long Beach,” and show no signs of going away. Throughout Long Beach’s county of Los Angeles, locals say that ride sharing is transforming the local travel culture at lightning speed.
So working together with Yellow Cab, the city council of Long Beach (population: 469,000) this week approved a pilot program that removes taxis’ fare floor, allowing Yellow Cab to discount fares as conditions warrant, comparable to ride sharing services’ less expensive fares. The company will also get an ordering app, be allowed to increase its fleet size from 175 to 199 cars, and be permitted to add additional capacity at peak times… (more)