The readers’ forum

Cab and sedan competition benefits everyone


For years Miami has had some of the worst transportation laws in the nation, preventing small entrepreneurs with sedan cars and limousines from competing with taxi cabs. These anti-competitive laws have long denied drivers the right to earn an honest living and deprived passengers of better service. Earlier this month the Miami-Dade County Board of Commissioners took the first steps to repealing the most onerous of those restrictions.

For small entrepreneurs, driving a car for hire is a simple way to achieve the American Dream. It doesn’t take much capital, only determination and a willingness to work hard. In dozens of major U.S. and European cities, independent taxi and sedan owners are able to compete with the biggest cab and limo companies to offer the best service to riders using smart phone apps with names like Uber, Hailo and Flywheel. Washington, D.C., and New York have recently eliminated regulations that stifled the services, but in Miami the apps have been effectively illegal and sedan car drivers have had no way to compete directly with taxis for business.

The law now forces you to take a taxi if you need an immediate ride. You can’t use a limo or sedan unless you call to arrange the ride at least an hour before you need the car, which is an inconvenience designed solely to protect cab companies from competition. If you want a sedan or a limo, you have to pay a minimum fare of $70. In dozens of other cities, however, a sedan using a smart phone app will charge you a minimum of one tenth that by using the phone’s GPS to calculate a fare by time and distance just like a taxi meter. If sedan and limo drivers are willing to accept less, why should the law make you pay more?

Opponents of the change, mainly the taxi cartels, say that without limiting the number of cabs by law there will be “too much capacity”— too many cars and drivers. No one will be able to make a living, they argue, and soon there will be no cabs to serve the public at all. That is nonsense.

It’s both wrong and unconstitutional for local governments to place burdensome restrictions on entrepreneurs merely to protect existing businesses from competition.

That’s not how government power is supposed to be used.

The evidence from every other city that allows smart phone apps to dispatch cars and allows cabs and sedans to compete for business is that doing the right thing also leads to the best results for both drivers and passengers.

Entrepreneurs and passengers will both be better off if needless transportation regulations are repealed.

Larry Salzman, attorney,

Institute for Justice, Arlington, Va.

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Partners in stopping human trafficking

    The Aug. 18 article Council aims to fight human trafficking describes how Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will lead the new Statewide Council on Human Trafficking in tackling the issue prevalent in Florida. The new Council goes hand-in-hand with the Florida Network of Youth and Family Services’ efforts to get critical services closer to human trafficking victims.

  • Fare increase for disabled ‘un-American’

    Why should residents of Miami-Dade County with disabilities have to pay more to use public transportation? They don’t pay for the construction and maintenance of accessibility ramps in the front of buildings? That’s the government’s — the community’s — responsibility, as agreed to under the landmark legislation passed 25 years ago known as the American’s With Disabilities Act or ADA, enforced by the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Zoo Miami’s angels

    It’s Sunday morning and I settle in to read the Herald. I pick up the Tropical Life section and am drawn to the lead article, Zoo Miami’s angels, by Ron Magill, the zoo’s communications director. Magill is a treasure to South Florida because of his super work and devotion to one of the finest zoos in the country.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category