Hi all. This is Vince, the fella that wrote the article for Sightline. I agree that the chart doesn't prove that more taxis/capita guarantees a lower fare. My intent with the article was to point out the oddness of the way taxis are regulated in most American cities, particularly the three large ones that Sightline is most interested in: Portland, Vancouver and Seattle. Prices and licenses are capped in these cities, and replaced with boards of (well-intentioned) people who try to divine what the market needs.
The taxi/jitney/towncar market is very complex, and perfect information is not present for either drivers or customers. Fixingp rices and capping licenses is one way to react to an imperfect market, but I believe it's a bit hubristic. If cities are concerned about the problems that may arise from an oversupply of cabs, I think there are better ways to avoid them.
The article is rather short for such a complex issue, but I hope it generates some good discussion. One thing I didn't get to mention is that Portland has a very good law on its books: Taxi licenses belong to the city, not the owner of the cab. Therefore they can't be sold at a tremendous profit, as happens in Seattle and Vancouver. This removes one factor that that can cause cab companies to oppose changes in the number of cabs on the street.
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