Government-busting technology

Dave Killion — December 18, 2011

I have blogged previously about one way in which technology is helping to bust taxi cartels, and Matt Yglesias points to another

“What is legal (apparently) is for sedan drivers to cruise around and let people use smartphone apps to “schedule” a pickup moments in advance. It’s an extremely elegant use of technology to, in effect, hack the legal system. Through the magic of computer power, a sedan becomes a cab without changing its technical legal status.”

As the article explains, it is illegal in many areas for limousine operators to stop for people trying to flag them down. But if you use your smartphone to “schedule an appointment” just a few minutes in advance, you can enjoy riding a nicer vehicle for lower fees than they would otherwise. It is a neat business model, and as Yglesias points out, one that would not exist were it not for the restrictive gauntlet of taxi legislation.

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