Economic FreedomEconomic PolicyLegislation & Regulation

Fayetteville Gets In On Uber-Bashing Too

arkansas newsIt looks like Fayetteville is trying to join Little Rock on the anti-freedom bandwagon of ride-sharing prohibition.
From Arkansas Online:
City officials aren’t rolling out the welcome mat for Uber, a ride-sharing company that uses smartphones to connect drivers with people seeking rides as an alternative to traditional taxis. It announced Wednesday that it’s operating in Fayetteville.
City Attorney Kit Williams said Uber, or any similar business such as Lyft, will be in violation of a city ordinance regulating taxi cabs if they start operating in the city.
“If they try to operate, their drivers will almost certainly be ticketed by the police,” Williams said. “The app shows where the drivers are. It’s very difficult for them to operate totally in the shadows with this system.”
Williams said Uber and Lyft aren’t licensed to do business in the state and have no offices here, so there’s no one to sue if something goes wrong. Both companies use drivers who use their personal vehicles to drive customers.
Arkansas cities have broad powers to regulate taxis. Fayetteville requires a permit, which Uber hasn’t applied for, along with special equipment and identification of taxis and commercial liability insurance to protect riders. The city also requires taxi drivers to apply for permits and prove they have proper licenses. Drivers must undergo background checks, and taxis must be inspected annually to assure they’re safe and sanitary.
It’s almost as if city officials have never realized that clamping down on people attempting to earn a living isn’t a very good way to encourage economic growth. Unfortunately, onerous licensing and permitting requirements are an all-too-common way that government cracks down on competition and makes it difficult for new businesses to enter the market. I doubt we’ve heard the last of this unfortunate battle between regulatory, trigger-happy local governments and innovative ride-sharing services like Uber.
Our previous coverage of Little Rock’s crusade against consumer choice — and against services like Uber and Lyft — can be found here.

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