Will Ride-Sharing Be Legal?

A blog about business and economics.
July 5 2012 5:21 PM

Will Ride-Sharing Be Legal?

Micky Meece's piece on websites that aim to facilitate carpooling shifts very quickly into somewhat hazy discussions about Americans' allegedly culturally unique affection for automobiles and the geography of southern California, but I think the bigger challenge is arguably regulatory.

You see this on both a short-term way and a long-term way. After all, one natural reason that I might want to open up my car to another passenger is that he's going to give me some money in exchange. And he might want to pay me, because doing so might be cheaper than other alternatives. But as I've written before mass transit is regulated much more stringently than private transportation. A private car needs to pass some inspections and a private car driver needs a license, but the regulatory hurdle to drive a passenger somewhere for money is wildly higher than the hurdle to drive yourself somewhere. That's a large bias in the system toward people relying on self-driving rather than shared rides. It's possible to get around these regulatory hurdles by offering the rides for free, but mandatory non-commercialism hobbles the potential of any new enterprise.


The longer-term issue relates to things like mandatory parking minimums that ensure that in the bulk of the country you're paying for a parking space whether or not you use one which, in turn, reduces the financial incentive to think of other ways of getting around.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 20 2014 7:00 AM The Shaggy Sun
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.