The war has finally reared its ugly head.
Earlier this week, The Philadelphia Limousine Association and major taxi organizations, the Philadelphia Cab Association and Philadelphia Taxi Association, claim their members voted to boycott the Democratic National Convention in July as a way to call out the “illegal and unsafe” competing services UberX and Lyft.
This mob of roughly 3,000 drivers resent these car services because they’re exempt from parking authority licensing requirements since they’re using a driver's personal car. Taxi drivers, on the other hand, must pay yearly for operating licenses through the Philadelphia Parking Authority and face heavy regulations intact with large insurance policies.
But I don’t care about any of that, and neither does the rest of Philadelphia.
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Consumers want cheap prices, efficiency, and respect. It’s clear that Philly cab services lack all of these traits -- which is why UberX and Lyft are demolishing their jobs.
I don’t have to tell you how many times I’ve been rejected from receiving a cab ride as a young black man in this city. I also can’t recount how many times I was told in the few taxis I got lucky to ride in that cash was the only form of payment. And let’s not ignore the frustrating negotiations cab riders have to make prior to knowing whether or not they can be picked up based on distance.
The war that taxi associations are waging is already one that is lost. Mayor Kenney has already told the media that he doubts they will turn down the potential monetary gains they can make from the DNC. By law, the Mayor does not have any legislative authority in regulating this issue in the first place. In other words, he’s calling their bluff and so am I.
Truth be told, everyone uses UberX and Lyft (including elected officials) hence why there isn’t a bold push to be tough on them in the city.
It’s laughable that this far in the game such cab groups are trying to protest a huge event that would actually payout favorably for them. Protesting the DNC wouldn’t change the dynamics of visitors’ transportation because they will just ride with their competition instead.
“We'll be encouraging Philadelphians to drive for Lyft during the convention so they can take advantage of the increased earnings that accompany big events like the Democratic National Convention, and to help ensure the thousands of attendees have enough safe ride options,” Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Wilson said a statement.
And that, my friends, is why nobody cares what cab drivers do on the days of July 25-28. It’s become clear that such coalitions of drivers are more invested in their own egos rather than consumers. Instead of coming up with cheaper and more effective ways of appealing to us, they'd rather whine about their competition. How about finding a better solution to their problems?
We get it, UberX and Lyft are technically illegal ... but they are currently better. Improve or continue to lose. Enough with the stunts.