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Uber, Lyft, Yellow Cab, and Big Government

Friday, March 18, 2016, by Buddy Saunders

Recently my son Conan, who works in our family business, and I flew to Sarasota, Florida on business. Rather than park at DFW or be dropped off, my son used his cell phone to catch a ride via Lyft. I had never heard of Lyft. For those of you no more in the know than I, Lyft is like Uber, which I bet you do know about.

I was amazed at how easily a ride could be scheduled. There were several drivers nearby. The one selected by Lyft arrived within ten minutes. Before the car arrived, we saw a picture of the vehicle and another of the driver.  The driver, in this case a young minister working to make extra cash in his free time, was pleasant, clean cut, professional, and in every way a credit to Lyft. He got us to the airport quickly and safely, with a nice conversation thrown in.  At the airport, my son paid for the ride via credit card with the driver’s tip pre-calculated and reasonably determined by Lyft.  It could not have been easier.  Arriving in Sarasota, we picked up a rental car from Enterprise, so we had no need of third party transport until we arrived back at DFW. But there, again, the Lyft call was made and, smooth as a wizard’s dream, we arrived home.

What did we pay for the exceptional level of swift and exceptional service? The answer is less.  A trip from DFW to downtown Dallas is about $30 via taxi. Via Uber or Lyft, it is $20.

Thus, based on my first time experience, a thing that is old hat for my son and his generation, we received better service and less cost via Lyft.

Now I have a question for you.  Which mode of transportation, Yellow Cab or its local like, or Uber and Lyft have the greatest symbiosis with government?

Bet you figured that one out real quick.

Governments are monopolies and governments surround themselves, as much as they can, with satellite monopolies. The now very much old-fashioned and threatened by innovation taxi cab companies have been for years, depending on the city, either outright monopolies or near-monopolies due to government edict. As such, they have no more incentive to get better than does government. Why get better, why improve service and price through innovation, when government has guaranteed you a captive market? The cab may be going the way of the buggy whip.

From here out, I’m riding Uber or Lyft unless they stop innovating and someone smarter plays a better hand.

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