When politicians and bureaucrats pushing regulation to protect politically connected incumbent businesses, they usually at least prtend it has something to do with public safety, consumer protection, or the environment. But not in Portland, where the government is pushing minimum-fare rules and other laws to constrain town-cars from competing with the cabbie cartel:
Frank Dufray, administrator for Portland's Private-for-Hire Transportation Program, which regulates both taxi and livery services, said the laws aren't intended to help consumers or the city, but to protect market share for the taxi industry.
This Portland story, from the Huffington Post's J.L. Greene is well worth a read It's pretty brutal:
Fiesta Limousine and Pacific Cascade Towncar offered a Groupon for one-time limo or sedan rides at $32, well under the mandated minimum fare. After the offer went live, Portland taxi companies complained to the city. City officials responded with threatening letters to Fiesta and Pacific, and insisted that Groupon remove the promotion. The city then fined Pacific $659,000 and Fiesta Limousine $250,000, based on the number of Groupons sold. The companies were told that if they honored the Groupons, they'd lose their operating permits. Both companies escaped the harsh fines by refunding the Groupons, but each still paid a $500 fine for advertising services under the minimum fare.
Fiesta Limo and Pacific Cascade declined to comment, citing possible legal action.