Disruptive Technology

R Street Criticizes New York’s Anti-Airbnb Law

Following Governor Andrew Cuomo’s recent signing of a New York State law that institutes a fine of between $1,000 and $7,500 for posting a property on a short-term …

“Third Wave” of tech companies need to be more engaged in the regulatory process

The arrival of what AOL founder Steve Case dubbed the “Third Wave” of internet companies will require revisiting the discussion of how tech companies will need to interact …

Don’t over-regulate driverless technology

Self-driving vehicles promise an exciting future, but whether the technology will see widespread adoption in the near term is anything but certain. Among the first hurdles to clear …

Will we ever really get flying cars?

If you listen to some entrepreneurs and investors, the flying car – a longstanding staple of science fiction – is right around the corner. Working prototypes exist. At …

It’s time for Uber’s regulators to be as transparent as the company is

This post was coauthored by R Street Policy Analyst Nathan Leamer. Recent years have seen a range of internet companies release “transparency reports” that attempt to detail, to the …

Iowa’s ridesharing bill is good for bankers, bad for Iowans

When I was a child, the notion of “staying up all night” was a sort of Holy Grail. In my elementary school-aged mind, successfully doing so was tantamount …

When did the Imagineers lose their imagination?

In a recent storyline of FX's "The Americans," the show's protagonists – Phillip and Elizabeth Jennings, and their children Paige and Henry – were set to take a …

Mississippi and West Virginia governors both sign ridesharing laws

Mississippi and West Virginia have become the 30th and 31st states to pass legislation to create a statewide regulatory framework for ridesharing services offered by transportation network companies …

Nevada study on rideshare background checks turns up nothing…literally

Would it surprise you to learn that government sometimes asks people to do the impossible? Last year, Nevada passed legislation that allows transportation network companies such as Uber and …

Lawsuits, legislation threaten the ‘sharing’ economy

As an occasional cab rider in Sacramento, I've noticed something that isn't always a given: fleets of newer cabs, polite drivers and the use of modern credit card …

Moylan talks Roomscore on the Tech Policy Podcast

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan sat down recently with Evan Swarztrauber, the host of TechFreedom’s Tech Policy Podcast, to Roomscore, R Street's new report and website looking at …

Lawsuits, legislation threaten ‘sharing’ economy

As an occasional cab rider in Sacramento, I’ve noticed something that isn’t always a given: fleets of newer cabs, polite drivers and the use of modern credit card …

Moylan talks Roomscore on the In the Tank podcast

R Street Institute Executive Director Andrew Moylan joined John Nothdurft and Donny Kendal of the Heartland Institute's In the Tank podcast to discuss Roomscore, R Street latest report …

Reimagining retirement for the gig economy

The emergence of the so-called “gig economy” – employment situations in which a worker may spread his or her labor among several part-time or freelance arrangements with several …

South Dakota opens the door to ridesharing

South Dakota has become the 29th state to implement statewide rules governing the operation of transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, with news that Gov. Dennis Daugaard …

Mile-for-mile, TNCs beat taxis hands down

It's always a pleasure to have one’s intuition confirmed. Last week, we at R Street were mighty pleased when a new working paper from the National Bureau of …

Texas rideshare rules are headed to the voters

All across Texas, battles are raging between the fans and foes of ridesharing. Ridesharing mainstay Uber officially suspended operations in Corpus Christi March 13 after the city passed …

Amid Airbnb debates, Arizona offers sensible solutions

Ronald Reagan famously summed up the federal government’s view of the economy as, “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. If it stops moving, …

Galveston, Savannah offer nation’s best rules for short-term rentals

WASHINGTON (March 16, 2016) – As services like Airbnb and HomeAway grow in popularity, a new study from the R Street Institute of 59 of the largest U.S. …

Roomscore 2016: Short-term-rental regulation in U.S. cities

See the report's full methodology and results at Roomscore.org. In recent years, discussion of the so-called “sharing economy” has dominated local politics in many cities across the country, and …

Flawed ridesharing bill moving in Massachusetts

Consider a world in which your morning commute and the afternoon drive to drop your children at soccer practice each required a separate license from your state government. …

California proposal to let Uber drivers, other sharing economy workers, unionize

California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez's latest high-profile legislative effort has been billed as a fairly modest measure to provide a "safety net" for workers in the growing sharing economy. "All …

R Street disappointed in onerous Corpus Christi ordinance that hurts ridesharing drivers and riders

WASHINGTON (March 10, 2016) – The R Street Institute is disappointed at news that ridesharing company Uber will cease operations in Corpus Christi, Texas, due to onerous regulations …

As another company moves away

After the 2013 death of the founder of Carl’s Jr. — the ubiquitous California fast-food restaurant chain — the Orange County Register published an obituary that captured the …

With Florida ridesharing reform going nowhere, Hillsborough is back to ticketing drivers

After a six-month reprieve, the Hillsborough County Public Transportation Commission – the agency that regulates taxicabs and limousines in Florida's fourth-largest county, which includes the City of Tampa …

New Mexico lawmakers beat clock to pass ridesharing

The New Mexico Legislature closed out its 2016 session Feb. 18, but not before passing legislation to legalize and regulate ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. Just hours after …

Bill legalizing ridesharing moving through West Virginia House

What a difference a year makes in the world of ridesharing. Just 18 months ago, only one state (Colorado) had passed comprehensive legislation legalizing and regulating the emerging …

Philly taxi cartel’s ‘public-private partnership’

Regulators have a long and lamented history of picking winners and losers among businesses and industries. But they typically at try to appear to be demonstrating impartial judgement …

Support streamlined regulation for transportation innovation in Missouri

Dear Missouri Legislator, We urge your support for S.B. 991 and H.B. 2330, which seek to provide a streamlined regulatory paradigm for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber …

A cost curve that bent way down

Warby Parker is the most celebrated of the online optical shops upending the traditional eyeglass business. In a market where the average price for a pair of prescription …

New Mexico tries once again to legalize ridesharing

New Mexico is the latest state to undertake an effort to make the operation of ridesharing services, like Uber and Lyft, legal within its borders. With the blessing …

R Street praises Florida House for legalizing ridesharing, urges Senate passage

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Jan. 28, 2016) –The R Street Institute is pleased with the Florida House of Representatives' overwhelming 108-10 vote to pass H.B. 509, legislation creating a regulatory …

Uber for welfare

This oped was co-authored by Cesar Conda, founding principal and policy adviser of Navigators Global. In this presidential cycle, the “gig economy” has been under attack, notably from Democrats like …

Portland’s sees big gains in transportation market freedom

Portions of Portland’s transportation-for-hire market – that is, the market for taxis, limos and ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft – have improved faster this year than in …

Fingerprint background checks: not as reliable as you think

The Austin City Council last month passed rules mandating fingerprint-based background checks for prospective ridesharing drivers. These new requirements were part of wider changes to Austin's ordinance regulating …

What’s the cost of caution?

Everyone cares about safety. And no one can agree on what that term means or what it entails. That was the only bit of consensus to be found during …

Vegas transportation reform: the proof is at the cabstand

Any city looking to host conventions for more than 170,000 people, like this month's Consumer Electronics Show, needs some serious infrastructure and sufficient transportation options. But until Nevada lawmakers …

Nashville tops national ridesharing scorecard with innovative attitude

When it comes to an inviting regulatory environment for transportation innovators like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar, Nashville is the best city in the nation. According to a report recently …

Kasich signs Ohio TNC bill into law

Ohio has officially become the 28th state to pass legislation regulating transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft, as Gov. John Kasich signed H.B. 237 into law Dec. …

DMV is off track on proposed rules for self-driving cars

The rise of self-driving vehicles is not the much-feared rise of the machines that some make it out to be. But try explaining that to the California Department …

R Street alarmed by Austin City Council’s hostility toward TNCs

AUSTIN, Texas (Dec. 18, 2015) – The R Street Institute was dismayed by the Austin City Council’s adoption of an ordinance last night that would require all transportation …

Ridesharing lessons from the Buckeye State

One wonders if Ohio Gov. John Kasich, before he made his way back home following Tuesday's CNN presidential debate in Las Vegas, might have noticed how the local …

Seven cities top R Street annual ‘Ridescore’ for transportation friendliness

WASHINGTON (Dec. 17, 2015) - In the second year of analyzing data from 50 of the largest U.S. cities, seven cities received the top score for friendliness to …

Ridescore 2015: Hired driver rules in U.S. cities

The attached policy study was coauthored by R Street Digital Director Zach Graves.  R Street researchers last year embarked on an ambitious project to assess 50 of America’s largest …

California gets it very wrong on self-driving cars

Nearly a year since its last workshop on autonomous-vehicle regulation, the California Department of Motor Vehicles has released draft regulations for consumer-oriented self-driving cars. While patient deliberation is …

Seattle picks a fight with Uber

Under federal labor law, drivers for transportation-network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft are currently considered contractors, not employees — and thus they don't have a right to …

More transparency is necessary in the music royalties system, R Street study finds

WASHINGTON (Dec. 8, 2015) – Musicians and songwriters are hampered in their ability to profit from emerging digital music models by an opaque system in which online streaming …

Statewide ridesharing rules ready to go in Florida House

State legislators descended on Tallahassee last week for their final round of interim committee hearings – also the last time they will meet before the official start of …

Austin shifts into reverse on sharing economy

The last few years have seen an incredible expansion in what’s known as the sharing economy. Digital media has made it easy to sell belongings online, rent out …

In wake of record fine, Pennsylvania lawmakers scramble to legalize ridesharing

The Pennsylvania Legislature is having to act fast to settle on a way to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. That’s because administrative law judges for …

Massachusetts lawmakers go home for holidays; no action on ridesharing

In the home of the Pilgrims, lawmakers have gone home ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The Massachusetts Legislature has adjourned for 2015, having failed to move on any …

Readopted credit-scoring model highlights NCOIL’s annual meeting

Cyber insurance, international regulatory efforts, the sharing economy and the successful state credit-scoring model dominated the agenda of this past week's National Conference of Insurance Legislators meetings in …

R Street brief refines principles for the future of work in the sharing economy

WASHINGTON (Nov. 10, 2015) – Stable and flexible benefits are good for workers, business and society and public policy should encourage firms to compete across all dimensions to …

The flexible future of work

Working with partners from the worlds of business, labor and academia, the R Street Institute recently took part in crafting an open letter to policymakers that lays out …

Chicago still isn’t giving Uber a fair shake

Uber, Lyft and other ride-hailing services will be permitted to pick up passengers at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway airports under a plan approved by the City Council in …

Bernie Sanders doesn’t like Uber; uses it literally all the time

Bernie Sanders is the champion of the little guy, the downtrodden and the oppressed victims of (big "C") Capitalism who have found themselves trapped in the lower-middle class …

Prop F fails, but news not all rosy for Airbnb on home turf

On a night of statewide and city races across the country, the highest-profile vote may have occurred in San Francisco. There, voters decided by a 55 to 45 …

Portland’s ridesharing pilot could come crashing down

The Portland City Council demonstrated remarkably good judgement when it instituted its transportation network company pilot program back in April, allowing firms like Uber and Lyft to operate …

How bitcoin can help get money to refugees in need

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have grown in influence and usage the past few years. People looking for an alternative to government-issued fiat currencies, or who simply don't trust …

The Chicago Way: Bringing a subsidy to a fight over ridesharing

Uber became so popular so fast because it filled voids the regular taxi industry did not: its drivers would go into non-touristy neighborhoods, pick up African-American customers and …

What does Uber’s return to Broward mean for the future of TNCs in Florida?

Ridesharing giant Uber returns to Florida's second-largest county today after a two and one-half month hiatus. This development both appears to resolve the at-times nasty public battle over …

Jersey City brings legal spacesharing to New York area

With average hotel rates upward of $350 a night, Manhattan is perhaps the costliest tourist destination in the United States. Thankfully, much more affordable accommodations are available just a …

Is ridesharing saving lives in Austin?

On March 13, 2014, a car plowed through a barrier in downtown Austin and into a crowd of SxSW festival-goers. The crash resulted in four deaths and two …

Airbnb isn’t killing hotels, after all

Much as Uber and Lyft are transforming the taxi industry, Airbnb is transforming the lodging industry. Airbnb connects hosts to guests. Hosts can rent out anything from a …

How ridesharing has helped the taxi industry

The taxi industry has been perhaps the biggest, and unquestionably the most forceful, critic of the emerging ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft. Taxis see the upstarts unregulated …

France’s privacy regulators want to dictate what you (Yes, you!) can find online

Whether you're an American sitting at laptop in Hawaii or a Japanese citizen using your smartphone in Kyoto, French privacy regulators believe they have the authority to block …

R Street urges Austin City Council not to hinder the tourism economy

AUSTIN, Tex. (Sept. 15, 2015) – The R Street Institute today expressed deep concern about proposed regulations currently before the Austin City Council that would restrict short-term rentals …

So what do Uber drivers actually think?

Are taxis becoming extinct? Is creative destruction a good thing? Are Uber and Lyft drivers fulltime employees entitled to benefits or are they independent contractors? Should municipalities cap …

SXSW policy panels you should vote for

We at R Street have put together what we think are some great policy panels for next year's SxSW conference in Austin, Texas. But we need your help …

Mississippi is on the wrong track with telemedicine

Recent years have seen plenty of debates about misguided health and safety regulations, but the current one in Mississippi threatens to frustrate one of the brightest trends in …

North Carolina Senate passes ridesharing bill

Yesterday was a big day for ridesharing in North Carolina as the state Senate passed S.B. 541, which creates a regulatory framework for transportation network companies. The bill …

Uber dust-up shows the Empire State has an innovation problem

Unless you live under a rock, it was hard to miss the showdown this past week in New York City between Mayor Bill De Blasio and ridesharing platform …

Tallahassee City Commission right on Uber vote

Last week, the Tallahassee City Commission showed that even a broken clock is right twice a day. I have oftentimes taken issue with its decisions over the years …

Dear Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville welcome Uber…why can’t we?

With a unanimous vote, Mobile's City Council affirmed amendments to the city's vehicle-for-hire ordinance, enabling app-based transportation companies like Uber to operate. Huntsville has also declared itself open for …

Progressives turn their backs on the sharing economy

Santa Monica, Calif., is now spending $410,000 a year investigating, ticketing and fining residents who sublet their houses and apartments on Airbnb. In Key West, Fla., a new city …

Hillary Clinton, old person, does not like this newfangled Uber app

A week or so ago, my friend Lisa De Pasquale penned an article over at Breitbart about how this election cycle is shaping up to be Gen-X versus …

Airbnb faces trouble at home

Airbnb’s fate in San Francisco may soon be up for a vote. While the village that raised the 7-year-old company is not yet ready to abolish it completely, …

Florida fumbles ridesharing

After not taking up ridesharing legislation during either the Legislature’s earlier this year or its special session in June, Florida has left ridesharing companies subject to the often …

Federal district strikes down crowdfunding patent

Earlier this week, my friend Trace, who is writing a book to inspire children with disabilities, reached his $5,000 goal on Kickstarter.com. Like Trace, who was born without …

Study shows Airbnb has positive economic impact for New Orleans

Like many cities, New Orleans has struggled with whether and how to crack down on short-term rentals such as those offered through services like Airbnb. Some neighborhood activists …

Je suis Uber

Imagine you are approaching an airport using your chosen transportation-for-hire service in a foreign city, when suddenly a brigade of angry, savage men start attacking your car with …

Nikki Haley signs bill legalizing TNCs in South Carolina

While the country was focused this past week on the flag that flies above the South Carolina statehouse, important work was being done inside its doors. In a major …

‘Disloyal competition’ — here and abroad

Commuters on their way to Paris' major airports and train stations were disrupted this week by the presence of a rolling blockade. Taxi drivers, under pressure from competition …

Utah TNC bill makes optional coverages mandatory

When Utah's brief legislative session came to a close in March, proponents of ridesharing services offered by transportation network companies rejoiced. The state had passed S.B. 294, sponsored …

Confronting public misconceptions about ridesharing

I had a conversation with my mother several months ago about how I commute on a regular basis around Washington. As many young Millennials would reply, I told …

FTC should heed advice on the sharing economy

Regulation shouldn't be used to make new business platforms fit the rules crafted for older regimes. That was the consensus of policy experts, bureaucrats, economists and industry representatives …

Why AB 24 is a bad idea

Just as a cook’s creation is only as good as the ingredients she uses, so too is public policy only as good as the premises that undergird it. That’s …

Assurance contracts and the indie film market

In some ways, there has never been a better time for fans of independent film. The video on-demand revolution has led to thousands of titles becoming available for …

Letter to New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission

My name is R.J. Lehmann. I am editor-in-chief, a senior fellow and a co-founder of the R Street Institute, a nonprofit public-policy research organization headquartered in Washington. I …

Nevada lawmakers send bill legalizing ridesharing to Gov. Sandoval

There was no rest for lawmakers in Carson City over the weekend as the Nevada Legislature was hard at work in the early hours of Saturday morning. The …

Legal ridesharing comes to Portland…sort of

Uber is operating legally in Portland, for now. A pilot program adopted by the Portland City Council has given transportation network companies the green light to operate for …

Nevada Senate gives green light to ridesharing

With just three weeks to go in Nevada’s legislative calendar, a bill that will give the green light to hitherto illegal ridesharing activity has cleared an important hurdle …

TNC bills could be on agenda for Florida’s special session

One of the consequences of the Florida House of Representatives' decision last week to commence an abrupt sine die adjournment, rather than play out an intractable battle with …

Uber’s not in Kansas anymore; will New Jersey be next?

The decision by the Kansas Legislature earlier this week to override Gov. Sam Brownback's veto of onerous ridesharing legislation already is yielding its inevitable consequence. Transportation network company …

Kansas overrides Brownback veto on TNC bill

In a disappointing development, the Kansas Legislature has overturned Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto of S.B. 117, the so-called “Uber bill.” While S.B. 117 is not without redeeming qualities – …

Leaked email: Mayor Walt Maddox and Councilor Kim Rafferty’s municipal cabal to keep ridesharing out of Alabama

"Clearly, controlling the narrative is in our best interests," writes Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. Birmingham City Councilor Kim Rafferty favors forming an ad hoc committee "to keep control of …

R Street praises Gov. Brownback for vetoing damaging ridesharing bill

TOPEKA, Kan. (April 20, 2015) – The R Street Institute praised Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback for heeding consumer concerns and vetoing S.B.117, a bill that would have placed …

Testimony on Texas auto franchise rules

Chairman Smith, members, my name is Josiah Neeley and I am Texas director of the R Street Institute. R Street is a nonprofit, free-market think tank headquartered in …

R Street, ATR urge Gov. Brownback to veto anti-competitive ridesharing legislation

Dear Gov. Brownback, On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform and the R Street Institute, we urge you to veto S.B. 117, which would burden ridesharing services with hostile …

Hawaii considers bill to regulate ride-sharing…in 2112

No two states are the same. What passes for polite in New England may be considered downright abrasive in the Pacific Northwest. What a Californian finds politically correct, …

Plan to regulate Airbnb might lead to total deregulation in Maine

A summer trip to Maine has it all: fresh air, ample boating, moose watching, covered bridges, picturesque lighthouses, lobster rolls, blueberry pie, perhaps a visit to downtown Portland's …

Don’t let local control undermine the Texas model

Texas has always been fiercely protective of its prerogatives as a state. From challenging federal regulatory overreach in court to maintaining our own electric grid, we are willing …

Could ridesharing shift to an ad-supported business model?

(This post was co-authored by R Street Western Region Director Ian Adams.) In a recent blog post, tech entrepreneur Andrew Chen discussed what a free, ad-supported service tier for …

Kansas City could make terrible ridesharing market even worse

I was in Dallas last week and used my Uber account to hire rides from Love Field to the hotel, and then back again when I was finished …

The West not yet fully won for ridesharing

On the heels of last week’s cross-industry compromise on insurance requirements for ride-sharing drivers, and with some legislative sessions drawing to a close, it's a good time to …

NAIC rises above ‘No Action Is Contemplated’ on ride-sharing

Regular attendees of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' thrice-yearly meetings are known to joke that NAIC actually stands for “No Action Is Contemplated.” At the group’s latest meeting …

For Uber drivers, one license is good enough

Michigan has experienced a dynamic economic reinvention over the past five years. Individuals young and old have turned their new ideas, artisanship and creativity into sustainable employment opportunities …

Major insurers to strike deal to support compromise TNC language

For much of the past year, we at R Street have been active in trying to promote reasonable, effective compromise on ride-sharing regulations. The goal all along has …

New Orleans takes step in right direction on ridesharing

New Orleans has traditionally been hostile to the sharing economy. Airbnb and other room-sharing services are still effectively outlawed in the Crescent City. Ridesharing companies have not had …

Louisville should find way to accommodate home-sharing

The growth of the popular home-sharing website Airbnb over the past few years has engendered opposition in some quarters. Most recently, Louisville, Ky. is the latest city to …

Judges say labor laws outdated to deal with sharing economy firms

New laws might be needed to provide courts better guidance on how to classify the employment status of drivers for transportation network companies, and indeed, other services offered …

Progressive is rolling out TNC coverage in Pennsylvania

Slowly but surely, more of the major U.S. auto insurers are rolling out custom products designed to cover the unique risks presented by the emerging market of transportation …

Missouri considers overly prescriptive TNC law

Governments are having a difficult time keeping up with changes in the culture and in the economy these days. One of the top issues for governments everywhere is …

San Antonio must continue to revisit rideshare ordinance

Ridesharing reform is coming to San Antonio, but so far it’s been a bumpy road. In December, the San Antonio City Council voted 7-2 to impose a set of …

TNCs, state flood insurance among hot topics at NCOIL spring meeting

For those whose travel plans weren't interrupted by the inclement weather, the spring meeting of the tri-annually convened National Conference of Insurance Legislators – held in Charleston, S.C. …

Florida may move forward on TNC regs

Florida lawmakers this month filed legislation in both houses of the Legislature to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.  The two companion bills seek to establish …

R Street scholars on your podcast airwaves

R Street Executive Director Andrew Moylan sat down with the fine folks at the Through the Noise podcast to discuss, among other things, what a "think tank" is, …

Letter to NAIC Sharing Economy Working Group

The attached comments were sent to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' Sharing Economy Working Group in response to the group's draft white paper TNC Insurance Principles for …

The ‘sharing economy’ is under threat

This piece was co-authored by R Street Editor-in-Chief and Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann. One of the underappreciated problems of the growth of the regulatory state is that rather than …

Alcohol delivery and your smart phone: a match made in heaven

In a world where the lines between the digital and the physical are blurry and fluid, constantly crossing and morphing and mashing up into a new version of …

Geico goes end-to-end with Virginia ridesharing product

In a continuation of the encouraging trend of personal insurers embracing innovation as a way to deal with the increased popularity of "sharing economy" services, auto insurance giant …

The FAA will not regulate your moon base…yet

With all this talk of Mars exploration, the U.S. government clearly has space-faring commercialism on its mind. In clear pursuit of Newt Gingrich's sweeping vision, a company called Bigelow …

FAA suit hopes to help ‘flight sharing’ take off

The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute last month sued the Federal Aviation Administration on behalf of Flytenow Inc., a fledgling transportation network company that is looking to do for "flight …

The inevitability of the sharing economy

Uber, AirBnB and other companies that mine the so-called “sharing economy” continue to face legal and regulatory challenges, both in the United States and internationally. At heart, these services …

California opens fast lane to approve TNC insurance products

The California Department of Insurance has approved the state's first private passenger auto policy endorsement specifically crafted to cover drivers for transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. …

Lost a drone? The Secret Service might have it

If you were the lucky amateur pilot who landed a "Quadcopter" drone on the White House lawn late last night, the Secret Service has your unmanned robot aircraft …

NAIC seeks input on TNC white paper

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has begun a 30-day comment period on a draft white paper (available here) that no doubt will shape the development in states …

Personal auto insurers wade cautiously into ridesharing waters

In recent months, controversy over the potential "uninsured" status of drivers for app-based transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft has finally started to settle down. Those two …

Letter to Virginia General Assembly on transportation network companies

January 22, 2015 Virginia General Assembly 1000 Bank Street Richmond, VA 23219 Dear Members of the Virginia Legislature, We applaud the General Assembly’s initiative to advance full legalization of transportation network companies (TNCs) …

Do USB cables need regulation?

Frequent travelers know the pain of being out on the road without the correct charging plugs for their phones and other electronic devices, just as parents know the …

In Vegas, CES parties like it’s 2009

It is estimated that 150,000 participants will flock to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this year. CES is a citywide forum for the introduction of novel …

Taxi deregulation happened where?

Mary Cheh, who represents a leafy, affluent, embassy-filled section of Washington, doesn’t fit anyone’s image of a free-market reformer. A member of the D.C. Council since 2007, the …

Texas craft brewers sue for freedom from distributors

During its last session nearly two years ago, the Texas Legislature passed groundbreaking reforms to allow the state’s craft breweries greater freedom to operate. But thanks to a …

Taxi trouble in Texas

Texas has a well-deserved reputation for being a freedom-loving state. We like our regulations same as we like our steaks: rare. That, at any rate, is the stereotype, and …

San Antonio goes too far with ridesharing insurance requirements

San Antonio, Texas appears to be on the verge of implementing one of America’s worst laws to regulate transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft. The current San Antonio …

Will San Antonio welcome or reject ridesharing?

When talk turns to cultivating a local high-tech economy, Internet companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and other Silicon Valley giants tend to come to mind. Certainly these companies …

The Uber fight comes to the South

You'd think the GOP would side with ride-sharing companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar over the taxi cartels and the local governments that are trying to protect …

Austin gets a C on taxi alternatives

Austin enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a vibrant, tech-friendly metropolis. But when it comes to the vehicle-for-hire market, the city could be doing a lot better. A new report …

Don’t overregulate taxis, ride-sharing

The hallmark of downtown Sacramento’s renaissance has been the emergence of a high-quality restaurant and bar scene. It is perhaps unsurprising, then, that Sacramento, geographically diffuse as it …

Fresno hits right note on for-hire ride services

When it comes to getting around town, Fresno has struck a good balance between regulation and innovation. A newly released study by my colleagues at the R Street Institute, …

Post-election scrum powers ride-sharing bills in the Midwest

It is disappointing to see all the public policy debates that languished over the last several months, both in Washington and in the state capitals, suddenly light up …

CDI ready to review ride-sharing insurance

Reasonable observers of California government must give credit when credit is due. In this case, the good news is that the California Department of Insurance reports it is …

D.C.’s new ridesharing law will give business a lift

Sometime this month, Mayor Vincent Gray is expected to sign legislation to formally legalize and regulate ridesharing in the District of Columbia. Dubbed the Vehicle-for-Hire Innovation Act, the law …

Hey, taxi!

Sometimes, people and businesses start out by trying to avoid regulation, and then discover that some basic ground rules aren't such a bad thing after all. At an …

HomeAway goes to court over San Francisco’s ‘Airbnb law’

An old adage in the legal profession suggests: “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. …

A big conservative city is about to strangle its sharing economy

Onerous new regulations in Houston, Texas, set to go into force this Tuesday, may end up shutting down some ride-sharing operations in the country's fourth most populous city …

R Street disappointed in onerous regulations on ridesharing in the City of Houston

HOUSTON, TEXAS (Oct. 31, 2014) – The R Street Institute expressed deep disappointment in the onerous regulations for transportation network companies set to go in effect in the …

Steer clear of pricing for private business

The Orlando City Council's proposal to force Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing companies to charge more than their competitors as a condition to conduct business in Orlando is …

New York City’s hotel war heats up

As any visitor to New York City discovers, the Big Apple isn’t the best place to get a hotel room. Rates top $300 per night, the highest in …

America’s motor state going the wrong way on direct sales

For most of my life, the Detroit area has been the epicenter of the domestic automotive world. Unless you are the sort of person who experienced a fainting …

Does Prop 103 violate itself?

The history of the American administrative state has been filled with attempts to introduce “rationality” and “discipline” to circumstances in which markets, left to their own devices, allegedly …

Airbnb regulated into legality

One of the many oddities of San Francisco is that the city is full of libertarians who love regulation. You can do your own thing, unless you’re a …

Five ideas to put taxis, limos and ride-sharing companies on equal footing

Recent polling by the University of Chicago’s Initiative on Global Markets find that economists overwhelmingly agree that the rise of ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft is good …

Detroit enables ‘prison guards of the past’

"There you go again..." exclaimed  Ronald Reagan famously, as he claimed the debate audience and eventually the White House.  The City of Detroit is once more eschewing hospitable …

Jacksonville should find a commonsense solution for ride-sharing

Jacksonville, Fla., is making headlines over plans to enact stiff penalties against ride-sharing drivers. Some transportation network company drivers in Jacksonville have recently gotten into trouble for not carrying …

Dealing with Uber, Birmingham City Council must understand that common-sense regulation is not the same as deregulation

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Alabama's failure to create opportunity for Uber, a popular ride-sharing service, to operate. I was particularly hard on the Birmingham City …

Nashville regulators seek to bring Airbnb into the fold

On its face, Airbnb would seem to violate Nashville laws against short-term rentals of any sort, other than licensed hotels and historic bed-and-breakfast inns. And so, lawmakers are …

Tesla takes Massachusetts

High-end electric car consumers rejoice! If you want to buy one of the famous Tesla cars and you live in Massachusetts, you can now do exactly that. This …

TNC battle ends with Gov. Brown’s signature

Gov. Jerry Brown has lent his signature to compromise legislation that clarifies how and when transportation network companies are commercially insured. Sponsored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, A.B. 2293, …

Airbnb helps, not hurts, SF housing shortage

San Francisco is in the midst of a housing shortage, fueled by huge demand and exacerbated by decades of wrongheaded regulatory intervention and, more recently, by professional troglodytes. Firms …

Self-driving cars could require overhaul of insurance regulation

What is an autonomous vehicle? As demonstrated in a Sept. 15 California Department of Insurance informational hearing, that's a misleadingly simple question. Regulators' attempt to stay in front of …

Alabama’s Uber failures showcase big brother bureaucracy over consumer opportunity

First it was Birmingham that refused to accommodate Uber, the popular app-driven transportation service, and then the Tuscaloosa Police Department began enforcing the city's transportation regulations against drivers …

Can Prop 103 handle driverless cars?

Earlier this year, Google announced the introduction of a completely driverless car. On this blog, Eli Lehrer took time to discuss the insurance implications of such a development. …

As competition between Lyft and Uber grows, questions linger about disruption

As Americans become more familiar with the concept of “ridesharing,” things are heating up in what the Wall Street Journal last week dubbed the “fiercest battle in the …

Don’t intervene in Azeroth: Thieves in MMOs shouldn’t face criminal charges

While the world reels from the Ebola epidemic, the instability in Gaza and the intensifying tensions between Russia and Ukraine, one British politician seems to have put his …

Lehmann talks Uber and Lyft in Virginia

R Street Senior Fellow R.J. Lehmann, co-author of our recent white paper on principles for regulating the peer production economy, discusses a recent deal struck by the Commonwealth …

Gingrich advises state lawmakers not to kill innovation

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich is known as a font of ideas, even by detractors who don’t necessarily approve the product of all his …

Virginia reaches deal with Uber and Lyft

From Matthew Feeney at the Cato Institute's blog: It is welcome news that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Herring have worked out an agreement with Uber and …

R Street testimony to Houston City Council on ridesharing

      Remarks by Steven Titch Associate Fellow, R Street Institute Re: Legalization of ride-sharing services Houston City Council meeting Aug. 5, 2014 Good Afternoon, I would like to thank the City Council for the opportunity …

Paying for permissionless innovation

We're big fans of permissionless innovation—the concept and Adam Thierer's excellent book. The biggest, most consequential enemy of permissionless innovation in the United States is undoubtedly the Food …

The sharing economy will thrive only if government doesn’t strangle it

The so-called sharing economy is many things to many people. To Wall Street and Silicon Valley, firms like Uber and Airbnb offer tantalizing market capitalizations, the …

Uber, Lyft and Houston’s policy leadership

Under the guise of needing to review a list of new amendments, the Houston City Council this week once again delayed a vote on granting legal status to …

Letter to Houston City Council on transportation network companies

    Houston City Council City Hall Annex 900 Bagby Street First Floor Houston, TX 77002 July 31, 2014 Dear Honorable Council Members, By approving the proposal to allow vehicle-for-hire companies like Uber and Lyft to operate, …

Portable persistency and the Prop 103 roadblock

The emerging need to develop new insurance products to cover California's Transportation Network Company operators has spurred a reexamination of the nature of Proposition 103's quasi-constitutional status. In …

Lyft’s insurance move a first step toward regular TNC coverage

Even as it faces new regulatory headaches in New York, transportation network company Lyft is making news this week with a major announcement today that should quiet at …

Update on the Lyft/NYC dispute

Since I wrote about the Lyft/New York City fight for The Weekly Standard this morning, it has come out that state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing the …

New York threatens to fine car service $2,000 for giving free rides

UPDATE: New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is indeed now suing Lyft for daring to offer free rides. See the update here. As anyone who has visited …

Some San Franciscans hopping mad over ReservationHop

ReservationHop is a start-up caught in the horns of controversy. Its business model places it at the intersection of San Francisco's built-in techno-libertarianism and urban third-estate populism. Is …

Michigan scalping law is ‘consumer protection’ gone wrong

So-called "consumer protection" has evolved into a major legislative preoccupation, which would be fine if it was mostly related to protecting citizens from injury – physical or fiscal. Alas, …

California Senate panel lowers insurance requirement for TNCs

California's A.B. 2293 – sponsored by Assemblymember Susan Bonilla, D-Concord – crossed another hurdle Wednesday by earning approval of the state Senate Insurance Committee. Having earlier been amended …

University of California has strong opinions on peer-to-peer business

Earlier this week, the University of California's Office of the President (UCOP) determined that, as a result of a perceived shortfall in regulation, it would not reimburse faculty …

Patents? Where we’re going, we don’t need patents

A little more than a week ago, if you were to walk through the lobby of Tesla Motors – not that I ever have, but if one were …

The fight over TNCs in California

Legislation regulating so-called "transportation network companies" in California passed the state Senate Energy, Utilities and Commerce Committee by a unanimous 8-0 vote earlier this week, amid a row …

Conspicuous production

We are living in an era of makers. The objects being made are diverse: quadcopters, decorations, blog posts and hand-bound notebooks. The ones we hear about have some …

Moylan on Virginia’s TNC ban

R Street's Andrew Moylan joined Afternoon Constitutional host Joe Thomas of WCHV-FM, 107.5 in Charlottesville, Va., to discuss Virginia's recent cease and desist letter to transportation network companies …

Virginia’s war on Uber and Lyft

The hidebound arm of an administrative state once again has descended upon one of the nation's most visible, exciting and novel industries. The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles …

Who will weight-watch the watchmen?

In what is likely the most bizarre story you will read all week, Seattle resident, trained fighter and self-proclaimed "superhero" (read: costumed vigilante) Phoenix Jones has decided to …

R Street disappointed by Virginia’s treatment of Uber and Lyft

WASHINGTON (June 6, 2014)  - The R Street Institute is deeply disappointed by Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle's cease and desist order to Uber and Lyft this week, ordering …

The insurance implications of Google’s self-driving car

Google has announced a truly "driverless" car that lacks a steering wheel, brakes or anything else that allows a driver to control its movements. This actually strikes me as a …

TNCs fight for footing in California’s legislature

A recent R Street post by Zachary Cohn laid out three steps that transportation network companies like Uber, Lyft and Sidecar should take to solidify their place in …

FTC directors say states should scrap dealership laws

In what has to be taken as a surprisingly encouraging piece of pro-market sentiment coming from a trio of federal regulators, three high-level Federal Trade Commission staffers are …

DC wants to lock up street vendors

The District of Columbia's food trucks, farmers markets, mobile boutiques and ticket resellers all potentially face harsh new criminal penalties under amendments to the district's vending regulations that …

Outbox vs. USPS: How the Post Office killed digital mail

Evan Baehr and Will Davis were summoned to Washington for a meeting with the postmaster general. Evan and Will wondered what it could be, "They must have seen …

TNCs need to go on the offensive…nicely

In the past year, so-called "transportation network companies" like Uber and Lyft have gone from fighting for explosive growth to fighting for survival. They won their first fight …

Bucking the ‘mother, may I?’ mentality

"Permissionless innovation" is what we call the unconstrained tinkering and continuous exploration that takes place at multiple levels across the digital economy today, from professional creators to amateur …

The Supreme Court case that will decide the future of television

In the past decade, home-media consumption of television content has changed significantly. Millions of people, particularly among younger generations, are becoming cord-cutters and converting to Netflix or Hulu. …

Peer production enters the kitchen

There's another peer production platform for regulators, taxmen, and assorted other busybodies to get the vapors about: Feastly, the "Airbnb of dinner." Feastly follows a pretty typical peer-to-peer model: …

Uber and Lyft prepare for Houston showdown

When Uber entered the Houston market in February it provoked the same outcry from the city's only two cab companies. The city code does prohibit drivers without livery …

How to tax sharing

Across the nation, so-called "peer production businesses" have become a common feature of the urban landscape, and cities are scrambling to figure out how to tax and regulate …

Renters and rent-seeking in San Francisco

As anyone who’s lived in a major coastal American city knows, apartment renting is about as far from an unregulated free market as you can get. Legal and …

Responding to Coppage and Gobry on the sharing economy

This morning in the American Conservative, Jonathan Coppage writes about "The Sharing Economy’s Undead Capital, and Its Discontents," commenting on my essay in The Ümlaut last week, as …

Ridesharing, insurance and regulation

ALEC's Cara Sullivan had a good post earlier this week on the American Legislator blog about the importance of balancing consumer protection with innovation in the ride-on-demand services …

How Uber and Airbnb resurrect ‘dead capital’

Arguably the two biggest economic stories of the last decade are the Great Recession and the rise of a category of new businesses that turn noncommercial capital and …

Can Bitcoin outrun the regulators?

Bitcoin is at the cutting edge of innovation. And like most new, potentially transformative ideas, most future job creators, and most disruptive innovations, Bitcoin does not have lobbyists, …

The FDA’s war on information

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on a "dangerous" medical product, but it's not a drug or a diet or a surgery. It's information. On Nov. 22, the …

‘If we had it to do over again, we would have barred Genentech’

Genentech Inc., now a subsidiary of Swiss drug-maker Hoffmann-La Roche, is widely viewed as the founder of the biotech industry. Among the company’s notable achievements over the past …

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