Uber Allies? Feds warn Colorado against anticompetitive taxi regs

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney

Colorado is considering regulations that would prohibit car services like Uber from charging variable pricing (higher prices when demand is higher) and keep limousines from hanging out near bars, airports, or hotels waiting for fares.

The smart-phone-based limo service Uber has faced anti-competitive regulations in plenty of cities, including our own, so these sorts of regulations are nothing new. But here’s what is new: the Federal Trade Commission is warning Colorado away from these anti-competitive regulations (thanks to Transportation Nation for flagging this letter):

FTC staff is concerned that these three proposed changes may significantly impair competition in passenger vehicle transportation services, including innovative methods of competition enabled by new software applications (“applications”) that allow consumers to arrange and pay for services in new ways that they might prefer, and thus harm  consumers. In evaluating claims that the practices to be prohibited impose a genuine  threat to consumer welfare, we recommend that CPUC be guided by the principle that  any restriction on competition designed to address such potential harm should be narrowly crafted to minimize its anticompetitive impact.

Kudos to Obama’s FTC!

If the commission is looking for more anticompetitive regulations to target, I’ve got a few in mind. Local food-truck rules, minimum wage, the employer mandate in health insurance, all of ObamaCare, the Dodd-Frank financial regulation bill, the IRS’s tax-prep regulations, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, Climate-change regulation – just to name a few.

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