Saturday, August 14, 2010

The need to be camera shy

Stephen Joyce should be utterly ashamed. He knows better…. Or does he? The efficiency effects of taxi camera coercion are obvious. Perhaps the equity effects aren’t?

So regardless of how this is done, prices to consumers ultimately go up. Industry sources tell me the cost to drivers will be around $6,000 to $7,000 per camera. People who can’t see that this ultimately winds up with the consumer are still in some flat earth brigade. Likely equity effects include more cost for:

§ All disabled people who depend on taxis for transport

§ Kids whose safety is ensured by taxiing not walking

§ Women who ought to taxi not walk home

§ Ditto elderly people

§ Beneficiaries who use taxis for essential transport.

And even on the supply side:

§ The taxi drivers who can least afford this are poor taxi drivers

§ Many are immigrants

§ Many are doctors, surgeons and the like which other regulations here prevent working

§ Many are not young rich but old relatively poorly off drivers

So a bunch of costs incurred for suppliers and consumers for a possible – and it’s only a potential not a guaranteed gain of maybe lowering levels of taxi driver assault. Even over the ditch the experts agree they are unsure whether it has helped.

Notice that the costs above are absolutely certain. The gains are a maybe.

There are literally millions – yes millions – of safe cab trips taken every year. We have had a spate of bad assaults and deaths. No one denies that or the tragedy. There are though far better local, individually generated solutions.

This is a poor response to interest group lobbying which hurts consumers – the least able to cope consumers at that – in the interest of baby kissing and looking like a “tough boy”.

Stephen Joyce – FAIL.

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