One of the most entertaining contests going on now in Midland, TX, and apparently some other cities, is the battle between the ride sharing company Uber versus regulators. The taxi industry in cities around the country has been trying to block Uber from the beginning. And it looks like Uber is winning in most jurisdictions.
Here at home the taxi industry is taking the back seat and letting the city code makers do the lifting. The fray is between some members of the city council and the ride sharing companies. And the main bone of contention, at least according to the morning paper, is the city's requirement that drivers submit to a background check performed by the police department. Sounds reasonable enough, except the companies say that's redundant since they perform their own background checks.
Driving for a ride sharing company looks like an entry level job that just about anyone could do. That's a good thing. But is the fear of criminals in this line of work realistic? We don't know. The news sources went quiet on that.
Open records queries directed at police departments at the big cities in Texas could get information sufficient to compare crimes accused of licensed taxi drivers and ride sharing drivers so prospective customers could make informed decisions. But that doesn't seem to be forthcoming.
Until there's some evidence to support the contention that the police background check is a more reliable indicator of future criminal behavior, then let's give Uber the benefit of the doubt and relax the regulation.
As Larry Kudlow likes to say, "Free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity."