Is the continuation of Lincoln's
regulation of cab fare still necessary
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By Jim Youngquist
[AUG. 20, 2005]
Michelle Squaire of American Cab and Brian Rankin
of Lincoln Land Taxi appeared at recent city council and ordinance
committee meetings, requesting that the city update the prices the
cab companies can charge. Apparently, the pricing that the city
mandates for a cab ride hasn't changed for the last 13 years,
although some of the costs to run a cab certainly have. If we take
the price of gasoline alone, it's hard to understand how the two cab
companies have been able to stay in business here.
The ordinance committee did indeed determine to recommend the
two companies' fare increases, and it is being done in a timely
fashion. The fares aren't as much as Squaire asked for, but it
should help them stay in business. They should be able to continue
to provide transportation to people who rely on the service, whether
out of financial constraints or for other reasons, in Lincoln, a
city without any local public transportation.
The question I raise
is whether it is time to consider deregulating cab fares completely
in Lincoln. Other communities our size and larger have either
decided not to regulate their cab companies or have in fact
In this business climate across the country, deregulation seems
to be the fad. Competition is said to bring about better pricing for
the consumer and is said to bring about better service. I have yet
to see whether this is true.
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Since the city of Lincoln has licensed two cab companies to
operate in Lincoln, what advantage is there to continuing to
regulate the fare structure? Won't competition in fact be a better
regulator of fares?
Some regulation is necessary for the community. Regulating the
quality of food and food establishments is in the public interest.
Regulating the speed limit and traffic flow is in the public
interest. Regulating the pollutants citizens can dump into our
environment is in the public interest. However, won't the public
gain if the cab industry in Lincoln is told to charge what the
market will bear, rather than adhering to a set pricing structure?
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