by Eric Montarti
Allegheny Institute for Public Policy
April 22, 2014
Will ridesharing—the transportation model in which prospective riders arrange for trips via smartphone on prepaid accounts with drivers who operate their own vehicles—revolutionize what many view as a moribund taxicab market? It is a question that many in Pittsburgh are asking. The Mayor is in favor of ridesharing, but responsibility for regulating, licensing, or permitting taxicabs falls to the state Public Utility Commission (PUC). The incumbent cab companies are not happy, stating they want the ridesharing companies to play by the existing rules. Time is long past when changes that favor freer entry and more competition should have been adopted. But now is a particularly good time for the PUC to begin the process of opening up the licensing requirements. Forcing an applicant for a cab license to prove there is a need for the service is the very first of the current requirements that needs to go.