Alan Powell’s Anti-Uber Legislation Could Screw Good Samaritans

It is pretty telling that the Atlanta taxi cab industry is not asking the legislature to deregulate itself to be competitive against Uber, but rather wants to regulate Uber and Lyft out of existence.

Rep. Alan Powell is leading the charge as Jason mentioned earlier. The legislation, HB 907, however could put you in an awkward spot against the law.

Consider the definition Powell and the lobbyists came up with to shut down Uber, Lyft, and other services:

‘Transportation referral service provider’ means any person or entity that books, refers clients to, collects money for, or advertises transportation services provided by limousine carriers or taxi services by telephone, through cellular telephone software, through the Internet, in person, by written instrument, or by any other means.

So if your friend is out drunk and calls you to come get him and you call a cab instead, you might be in trouble.

In fact, Uber and Lyft are becoming regular go to services for the college set looking to get home after a night on the town. This legislation is needless anti-competitive regulation.

Again — the tax industry is demanding that others be regulated as much as they are, not that they be deregulated to be competitive. That’s protectionist. It’s also idiocy.


  1. NoTeabagging says:

    bgsmallz and drjay made some good remarks in the first post on this subject earlier this week. I would like to know more about the current taxi rules and regulations history. Are the regulations there to make it difficult for others to get taxi licenses? Did the current regulations evolve from consumer protection or industry protection? Are there consumer protection regulations that UberCabs are avoiding? Where are the loopholes that allow Uber and Lyft to even operate?
    I can see the justified uproar from an industry that has invested big bucks in fees and licenses only to have those ignored by an upstart that ***warning, buzzword*** Disrupts the business model.
    The competition is selling fast access and fast service via mobile apps. Who wants to use their phone to call for service anymore, right? Avoid direct communication. Use an app, hope it works. Why can’t Checker and Yellow get with the program and create their own service apps? Seriously.

    It seems really odd that instead of enforcing current regulations our legislators think the fix is adding a new definition to the books. As pointed out, the wording would make any person recommending a service via direct “freedom of speech” communication, or perhaps online reviews (yelp, yp, foursquare, facebook, twitter) even without compensation a violation.

    • Harry says:

      “Why can’t Checker and Yellow get with the program and create their own service apps?” The legacy services would have to add the additional cost of the app development, and wouldn’t come close to be able to compete on price for that reason as well as structural reasons. The new kids have the advantage of being basically unregulated people-to-people.

      • NoTeabagging says:

        Perhaps so, Harry. The investment would need to benefit the franchises nationwide and globally as per Uber. Uber also invests in huge PR presence to lure new customers. I dare say many people have attended special events sponsored by or jointly promoted by Uber with discounts for new customers to use their service during the event or on a first try basis.

      • MattMD says:

        Developing apps is very inexpensive, old codger. Of course I wouldn’t expect you to know this.

        Powell is a joke.

        • Harry says:

          I may be an old codger, but what are you? Let’s see how inexpensive it really is to develop and field test an Uber-type of app with all the functionality. And Rep. Powell is certainly no joke.

    • bgsmallz says:

      Developing an app wouldn’t be that difficult. Atlanta Checker Cab has an app that works like Uber’s…

      What they can’t do is offer the convenience and prices of Uber, Lyft, etc. because of the current set of regulations limiting supply of cabs and dictating rate limits. I said it in the last post…the technology is the marketing; Uber’s real innovation is figuring out a model that allows them to technically operate outside the regulations for taxis.

      Where’s the Beef? We’ve identified the problem, but where’s the bill that accomplishes this? Where is the article detailing the taxi regulations and why they have to go? We talk about having a perception problem as the party of ‘no’…this is put on a tee for us. Someone needs to step up and say, “I’m not ok with the political tactic of attacking reform by defending a flawed status quo” and drop a competing bill.

      They deregulated in Dublin (Ireland…although I’m sure it would work in Laurens Co, too) with good effects…

      There is a nice, short write up on taxi regulations in the Economist and why deregulation would work in Europe…it’s worth a read

      People love Uber…going after them is dumb…deregulation proponents have been given the ball on the 35 yard line, but they seem content to make fun of the other team for being so dumb, argue about who should primary the other team’s coach, and then settle for a field goal rather than just going for the touchdown. It makes me frustrated at the play caller [and the definition of an arm chair QB…despite my criticism…much respect to those who actually have to do this in the public sector].

  2. Mr. Conservative II says:

    This is the type of rent-seeking, lobbyist purchased legislation that kills free enterprise. A new business that consumers want? Let’s regulate it! Let’s end it! The little guy be dammed. Rep. Allen, who claims to be a Republican, should be voted out of office just on this one issue. This is as bad as our imprudent licencing laws for various occupations which serve protect established businesses form the evils of competition. Making a living should not be a crime.

  3. barstool69 says:

    “Each transportation referral service provider doing business, operating, or providing
    transportation services in this state shall register with and obtain a license from the
    Department of Public Safety which shall be renewed on an annual basis.”

    Erick, I agree that the term “transportation referral service provider” could, if applied illogically, cast a wide net. However, I don’t see the above, and thus the regulations, as applying to bartenders or friends.

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