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Why are so many people trying to stand in the way of innovation?

in Peter/Statewide by

If all forms of innovation were stifled, this website wouldn’t exist (and yes, there are probably some folks who are thinking “if only …”).

The latest target for these head-in-the-sand Luddites is ride-sharing, in the form of companies like Uber and Lyft. Ride-sharing is not just inevitable — it’s real, and it’s here to stay. Yet, like the buggy whip manufacturers who tried to convince themselves that automobiles were just a passing fancy, the taxicab industry is doing everything it can to deny the inescapable.

Ride-sharing came to Miami-Dade, with overwhelming County Commission approval earlier this week. So how did the taxi owners respond? Did they show real concern for their drivers? Or were they only interested in how much cash they could continue stuffing in their wallets? (I bet you can guess the answer.) They filed a $1 BILLION lawsuit that claims the county wiped out the value of their exclusive right to pick up customers.

So now Hillsborough County is on the verge of reaching an agreement to allow ride-sharing businesses to serve riders there, and how are the taxi bosses responding? By filing an even more ridiculous motion trying to get County Commissioner Victor Crist booted from the ride-sharing issue.

Crist serves as chair of the county’s Public Transportation Commission and has been working with the ride-sharing companies, primarily Lyft, to work out details of a temporary operating agreement for the benefit of the community. He has said the two sides are very close to an agreement the PTC could approve in the near future.

So we have two cab company bosses, separated by 280 miles of geography but united in their dependence on the old ways and lining their pockets. Tied to the past, they cling desperately to anything that will maintain their monopoly — regardless of what’s best for consumers and the community.

Some taxi companies are adapting to future trends, but the rest really need to find a way to work within a reality that includes Uber, Lyft, and other visionaries of the innovation economy.

If they don’t, I think there may be job openings for them at the neighborhood Blockbuster Video store.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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