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 unfair and inherently un-American.

Last year, more than $71.8 billion was infused into Florida’s economy by its 91.5 million visitors, and more than 1 million Floridians held jobs in the tourism industry. This year, it is estimated Florida will attract a record 100 million visitors. As the tourist capital of the world, Orlando should be fostering competition among the industries that facilitate tourism, not undermining them.

Rental-car companies in Orlando, whose rates are unregulated, charge the lowest prices in the country because of demand and competition, and given that most large resorts in the area already provide free transportation to, from and within their resorts, the demand for taxicabs is already smaller than most other tourist-destination cities.

Indeed, local governments can and should ensure the public’s safety by requiring a reasonable permit process involving background checks, vehicle inspections and adequate insurance coverage. But politicians arbitrarily forcing certain companies to charge more than their competitors for simply having a different business model is a protectionist measure that crushes innovation and benefits one business over the other.

As such, local officials should avoid meddling in what a private business charges a willing customer and instead should remain focused on their proper role: ensuring public safety, which might include encouraging additional means of transportation-on-demand to help reduce drunken driving.

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