IJ Takes on the High-End Limo Cartel in Nashville
From the Institute for Justice: "Until 2010, sedan and independent limo services were an affordable alternative to taxicabs in the Music City. A trip to the airport only cost $25. But in June 2010, the Metropolitan County Council passed a series of anti-competitive regulations requested by the Tennessee Livery Association - a trade group formed by expensive limousine companies. These regulations force sedan and independent limo companies to increase their fares to $45 minimum.
The regulations also prohibit limo and sedan companies from using leased vehicles, require them to dispatch only from their place of business, require them to wait a minimum of 15 minutes before picking up a customer and forbid them from parking or waiting for customers at hotels or bars. And, in January 2012, companies will have to take all vehicles off the road if they are more than 7 years old for a sedan or SUV or more than 10 years old for a limousine.
These regulations have nothing to do with public safety. Nashville is stooping to economic protectionism to put affordable car services out of business in favor of more expensive services that happen to have more political power. Many Nashville residents who regularly use limos and sedans will be forced to spend twice as much money for exactly the same service and hard-working sedan drivers will be driven out of business.
MP: This reminds me of something I read recently on Seth Godin's blog:
"Companies that operate in a free market generally work as hard as they can to make that market not free. The free market is a great idea, which is why we need to be careful when market incumbents lobby to make it un-free."
Thanks again to the Institute for Justice for its ongoing efforts to battle economic protectionism and challenge market incumbents, who are always looking for ways to use the political process to thwart competition, raise prices and make the free market less free.