Getting Over Taxis
Tim O'Reilly

Monopolies Provide Lousy Service At Higher Costs

Tim, this is a great article. To further strengthen your argument you might consider the way that FedEx and UPS are slaughtering the US Postal Service, in large measure through the use of technology. In this case the US Gov. has even subsidized the USPS for decades and despite that truly massive assistance FedEX and UPS are doing very very well. Why? Because they’re better. Then of course there’s the decimation of the USPS’s near monopoly on 1st class mail caused by email.

You’ve done a great job of laying out the specific and quite obvious flaws in Susan’s arguments, but the basic point is that monopolies have no incentive to improve. The Taxi monopoly has done what every monopoly has done from the Barons on the Rhine River through the USPS and now Comcast (one of the worst offending defacto monopolies). It has used monoploy power to screw the customer with either high cost or crumby service. Something customer’s don’t appreciate.

The Taxi industry is now suffering through the consequences of customers going around the monopoly. The wonderful thing about technology, and specifically this wave of it, is that going around the monopolies has never been easier. Amazon does it by going around the geographic monopoly of physical stores, Airbnb goes around the near monopoly of city zoning that allows hotels to charge ridiculous rates, and the list goes on and on.

Perhaps we’ve rewritten that old saying and now it goes:

“Technology Abhors A Monopoly.”