LibreTaxi is about human rights

Taxi in San Francisco

Money, money, money. “How are you going to compete with Uber?”, “How are you going to earn?”. This is what you hear when your startup gets traction. But LibreTaxi is not about money.

LibreTaxi is about essential human rights. It’s not in constitution yet. But you have a right to get connected with a driver who agrees to give you a ride. For free, for an apple, for money — it doesn’t matter at all. No regulations can be applied here.

If you look at Uber, money is everything. Drivers are complaining. Taxi drivers are complaining Uber takes their market. But the irony is that classic taxi drivers (as we know them) and Uber are in the same camp. All these parties don’t think about a passenger.

What’s the dream of a classic taxi driver? Give a quick ride for insane amount of money! “I’d better wait here all day long and finally I’ll give 1-mile ride to a tourist with a backpack for $100, just because s/he has no other options”. I hope you’ll never be the tourist from this scenario, but in this world it is still possible.

But what scares me here is not state regulation. It’s a bad thing too, but the worst thing is aggressive taxi unions. For example, I have lots of complains from Goa, India. Locals, who were born in Goa or who have been naturalized, can’t pick up passengers from the airport, even if they have a license. Flat tire is the best thing could happen to you if you’ll mess up with aggressive taxi unions.

Another scenario is when you want to give a ride on your way. Let’s say you’re traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles. There is a passenger in Santa Cruz you can pick up. How much will you ask for 350-mile ride? I would be happy to ask for $50 or even give a free ride. I’m going to L.A. anyway. A taxi driver would charge you hundreds. But because of regulations (state or taxi unions) you can’t earn even $50 and passenger has to spend hundreds.

That’s why I’m not thinking about “my own startup”, “Uber killer” or earning money on LibreTaxi. I’m thinking about human rights because it is human right — to get connected with a driver you want. It’s also good for economy.

This world has changed dramatically in last hundred years. We use cars, motorbikes, airplanes, boats, trains. Our lives and lives of our children depend on transportation. It’s crucial for us. Why should we allow anyone to regulate the quality of our lives? Why we should allow anyone to regulate the method of choosing this or another taxi driver? Why we should allow anyone to regulate the way we want to get transported from point A to point B?

There are some essential human rights already. Sometimes we don’t take them seriously only because it’s something new for our society. LibreTaxi is one of these rights.