NYC Taxi Commissioner Seeking Compromise on Taxi Apps

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 12 2012 4:22 PM

NYC Taxi Commissioner Seeking Compromise on Taxi Apps

156322072
Taxis drive past a double decker bus set up as a pop-up store to buy the reissue of the Beatles’ original albums on vinyl, on a 12-inch LP format in New York, November 13, 2012.

Photo by EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

Dana Rubinstein writes that New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissioner David Yassky is somewhat softening his early embrace of the idea of cab-hailing apps in favor of a pilot program:

A pilot is "better than doing it as a permanent rule," Yassky said this afternoon.
"People have legitimate concerns about how it's going to affect their businesses," said Yassky, of taxi apps, which would have allowed New Yorkers to hail cabs by tapping their iPhones and Androids, rather than by simply waving their hands in the air. "And if some people's fears turn out to be true, then the government should revisit it. A pilot is a way to ensure the city revisits it."
Advertisement

Politics is politics and half-measures are sometimes part of politics, but as I suspect Yassky knows this is bad reasoning. The goal of transportation policy should be to make it safe and convenient for people to get around the city, not to preserve the economic value of people's existing businesses. Useful technological changes are often bad for specific companies. Digital photography has been terrible for film manufacturers, and smartphones destroyed the young point-and-shoot camera industry. But "this new technology is going to be bad for my business" is just about the worst possible rationale for a new regulation.

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

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 11:13 AM Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
War Stories
Sept. 23 2014 4:04 PM The Right Target Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM Why Is Autumn the Only Season With Two Names?
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
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.