At a recent conference here [in Washington], transportation regulators and car service operators from cities in the United States and Europe met to talk about how smartphone apps were changing the hire-a-car business. Some of these apps are integrated with dispatching systems run by the car companies, while others allow drivers to directly connect with passengers, phone to phone.Uber's offense, it seems, is insufficient groveling to the regulators. Whatever. Let the anger flow. Conspiracies of regulators and monopolies should be exposed for what they are: Theft.
While the regulators discussed ways to clarify the legality of these apps, they also proposed guidelines that would effectively force Uber, a San Francisco start-up, to cease operations in the United States. Uber also faces new lawsuits filed by San Francisco cabdrivers and Chicago car service companies, and a $20,000 fine from the California Public Utilities Commission.