Tourists from different parts of the globe flock to Las Vegas to experience the tossing of cards on the felt of a casino table. However, last May 29, 2015, taxi drivers gathered on the strip to protest Uber, an online transport network company that was seeking for legislative approval to be able to re-enter Nevada. The taxi industry is threatened by the possibility of Uber being legalized and regulated in the state.
Uber can certainly be a threat to the revenue stream and survival of the taxi industry. The taxi industry which is a power player in Las Vegas has expressed its concerns at the Legislature and Clark County officials. What is at stake here is the near monopoly of transport for hire from the strip to the McCarran International Airport. The taxi industry was regulated in the 60’s after violence has erupted among the drivers coming from different companies. The regulations allowed the leading companies to protect their businesses. The taxi companies have also developed good relationships with local and state politicians by providing them with regular campaign contributions. However, Uber appeared on the scene.
The taxi industry has flexed its political muscle and argued about different licensing requirements. According to the industry, Uber and Lyft drivers could be a threat to public safety and it was pushing for regulatory measures that include FBI background checks for Uber and Lyft drivers. This stance of the taxi industry has resonated with the politicians and regulators particularly since Uber was launched in 2014 without any license.
The app-based transport is popular and consumers want Uber and Lyft in spite of the existing risks to the taxi industry. Instead of queering for a cab, travelers can hail a ride using their Smartphone. However, if the taxi industry succeeds, it could drive away the app-based transport from Nevada. Uber has stopped serving Austin, Texas because of regulatory measures.
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