The Calgary Taxi Commission has another impact on the market and the market participants – diversity compression. They guarantee of one type of service, one charge rate, and one delivery mechanism. With all the sensitivity of a Moscow apparatchik in the 60’s they pursue an economic model that ruthlessly and thoroughly stuffs consumer and provider alike into ‘one type fits all’.
Unleash the market, and drivers would quickly offer a wide diversity of services. The Widow Blackacre, eager to make a bit of money and keep in touch with the nieghbours, would have her van and offer morning rides in her neighbourhood to the C-Train station. Text her, and off she goes. Or a regular route of pick-ups. For pennies a day, a new service. A service that would reduce the need for parking spaces and increase ridership on public transit.
On rainy days, anyone with a safety inspected cab and an appropriate license would transform their car into a cab by pulling down the sun shade with the taxi marking and applying a magnetic sign to the door. Instant expansion of the taxi fleet.
People at bus stops along the road seeing the “rides available” sign flipped down on the sun visor would be, for an agreed fee, could get where they are going. Joe Commuter, driving his empty car home from the C-Train, could stop and hold up his sign on his way to Ranchlands or Bonavista or wherever he happens to live “such-and-such Bay” or “so-and-so Mews” and collect a fare.
Those for a taste for the finer fare could see a new higher level of service being offered for reduced fees. Morning limo pick-ups. Standing fare arrangements. Car pooling in a market environment.
Disbanding the taxi commission would have an immediate favorable impact on the diversity of service offerings for taxicabs in Calgary.
Previously published parts of this story:
Part 1, Life without
Part 2, Into the free market
Part 3, Protection racket
Part 4, Cab fair
Part 5, Destruction of wealth
image: Flickr CC James Badger “Looking North (afternoon)”