Saturday, 9 December 2017

Uber v taxi industry

You ask your readers: "do you support the taxi industry in its warning to sue the Hong Kong government if Consumer Council recommendations urging the city to legalise ride-hailing services are accepted?" (Opinion, December 9).
No, this reader does not. Nor should anyone. 
Simply put, the "warning" is by thuggish taxi owners who seek to sue their way to an entrenched and inefficient monopoly. 
Taxi owners invested, or speculated, in taxi plates. Like any investment they must be subject to market forces. Remember Netscape? Or MySpace?  Better products came along and wiped them out. They were not allowed to sue their way to monopoly. That is the way of an efficient market economy, what's known as "creative destruction". 
The main objections to Uber appear to be that they don't have commercial licences or third party insurance. These are surely easily fixable. Even so, I haven't seen a single report that a passenger of Uber has been injured and not covered by insurance despite their having operated ("illegally") for several years. 
So, no, taxi operators don't get to sue their way to monopoly. Or at least they ought not be allowed to. 
The rights of the public for more efficient services trump the demands of greedy taxi owners. 

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