It’s called ride-sharing. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you will.
Ride-sharing companies have created a new business that allows you to summon a car to pick you up and take you wherever you want to go through an app on your smartphone rather than going through the nightmare of calling a taxicab dispatcher.
And rather than sitting around seemingly forever wondering not only when your cab will arrive, but if it’s even coming at all, you can use the GPS feature on your phone and actually see where your Uber or Lyft driver is and exactly how long it will take him or her to get to you.
In addition, drivers are friendly, polite, courteous and helpful — primarily because they are, in reality, small-business owners, not employees.
Alas, the taxi cartel in Nevada is every bit as powerful and ruthless as the Empire in “Star Wars.” And when Uber tried to launch its service in Nevada last fall, the Emperor unleashed a drone army of bureaucrats and lawyers to shut the company down cold, including the use of armed, ski-masked stormtroopers to yank Uber drivers off the road and confiscate their vehicles.
I guess this is part of what Gov. Brian Sandoval refers to as the “New Nevada.” Lovely.
Anyway, a bill to allow ride-sharing in Nevada came before the state Senate recently and was killed by Democrats for a wide variety of paper-thin reasons, including an absurd objection to “surge pricing.”
Surge pricing is nothing more than old-fashioned, free-market supply-and-demand pricing. When there’s a higher demand for rides, ride-sharing companies charge a higher price. And those higher prices entice drivers at home watching “iCarly” re-runs on Nickelodeon to hit the streets and satisfy the increased demand.
Resulting in better, faster service.
But the most outrageous aspect of objections to supply-and-demand surge pricing in Las Vegas is that Las Vegas is, frankly, not only the one of the gaming capitals of the world but also the surge pricing capital of the world.
Heck, we’re doing it right now!
On Saturday the “fight of the century” between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. will take place at the MGM Grand on the Strip. As such, available hotel rooms are far and few in between, resulting in sky-high surge pricing.
In fact, a room at Whiskey Pete’s — 40 miles away from the MGM Grand — is going for $180 a night for the nights before and of the fight. That same room usually goes for $59. Ditto Circus Circus, where the fight night rate has surged to $284.
So don’t tell me the objection to Uber in Las Vegas is surge pricing. The real objection to Uber in Vegas is simply this: free-market competition for the taxi cartel.
Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a conservative grass-roots advocacy organization. He can be reached at www.muthstruths.com.