Apparently, Washington DC politicians think that it is an economic disaster that there are ... too many competitors in the taxicab business.
The District's open, all-are-invited taxicab industry is so saturated with drivers that the entire enterprise is threatened, according to a D.C. Council member who has filed a bill to cap the number of cabs allowed on city streets.
Ward 1 Councilman Jim Graham introduced legislation Tuesday to limit the number of taxicabs in D.C. through either a medallion system, like ones used in New York City and Chicago, or a certification system.
The soaring number of taxicab operators in D.C. "” roughly 8,000, most of whom own their own cars "” is a "pressing and urgent problem," Graham said. There are more licensed drivers in D.C. per capita than any place in the world, he said, and new applicants continue to take the required class, giving them access to the driver exam administered by the D.C. Taxicab Commission. A glut of drivers could jeopardize the chances of any cabbies making an adequate living, Graham has said.
After spending an entire hour trying to get a cab in the middle of a sunny day in Paris, I have not very sympathetic. Another example of how government licensing is almost always aimed at protecting incumbent businesses from competition, rather than helping the consumer.