Regulating the new economy
The R-Street Institute recently completed a study of how the nation’s 50 biggest cities are regulating ride-sharing services. Policies vary significantly, but the study found that most cities had at least some regulations that offered questionable value to consumers or public safety, and the average score was a B-. The most extreme example of unnecessary regulation is an outright ban, which 13 out of the 50 cities have passed. Less onerous but still-problematic regulations range from price regulation to bans from operating in specific geographic areas such as airports.
However, the study did find a handful of areas that are regulating these services effectively and liberally, including Colorado Springs CO, Denver, and Minneapolis. Cities that are allowing ride-sharing to flourish with no noticeable negative impacts on consumers or public welfare should provide useful examples to others. It is unlikely that Denver will suffer serious side effects from this industry, and this deflates the argument that onerous regulations are necessary. Regulators and policymakers would do well to utilize such comparisons to inform their decision-making.