How can heavily-regulated cab companies hope to compete against agile and unregulated competitors like Uber and Lyft? In Long Beach, they’ll do it by becoming more like Uber and Lyft:
On the other hand, says Long Beach’s Mayor Robert Garcia “Uber and Lyft are both popular in Long Beach,” and show no signs of going away. Throughout Long Beach’s county of Los Angeles, locals say that ride sharing is transforming the local travel culture at lightning speed.
So working together with Yellow Cab, the city council of Long Beach (population: 469,000) this week approved a pilot program that removes taxis’ fare floor, allowing Yellow Cab to discount fares as conditions warrant, comparable to ride sharing services’ less expensive fares. The company will also get an ordering app, be allowed to increase its fleet size from 175 to 199 cars, and be permitted to add additional capacity at peak times. [emphasis added]
I wish Yellow luck, but it’s difficult to see how they’ll ever out-innovate the newcomers when their business model is still based on “allowed” and “permitted” by a slow-moving city council with entrenched interests to protect.