This article appeared in Consent #4 (June-August 1988)


- Lloyd Walker

{Mr. Walker is Vice President of the Freedom Party of Ontario.}

Many municipal leaders in Ontario limit the number of taxis permittee to operate within their boundaries. This policy does the community at large a great disservice.

There are several losers when politics takes control.

Those who use the taxi service suffer as a result of limited choices, a lack of competition, monopoly style pricing, and a lack of variety in services. A greater supply of taxis in a community would mean that the companies and/or drivers would have to compete for customers, resulting in better service.

Another victim is the entrepreneur. Drivers who wish to work for themselves rather than for a cab company or people wishing to earn a living by offering a service to the public are prevented from doing so. The limited supply of licenses, and resulting high price, denies many people a means of earning a living.

Who then wants this limited supply of taxis? Politicians and those who hold licences seem to be the only ones interested in maintaining the status quo. Politicians will, as a result, continue to make decisions controlling this segment of citizens' lives. Licence holders seek to preserve their hold on an under-supplied , and therefore lucrative, market.

There is no positive reason for keeping government controlled limits on taxis. The opposition complains that there is potential for oversupply, causing some drivers or companies to suffer a loss in income as a result of competition. In any free market there a always a possibility of oversupply, but is that a problem?

If a new automotive plant wanted to set up in your community, for example, should politicians listen if a vested interest (another automotive plant) in the area protested? Should there be no new restaurants because a new entry into that market may take business form existing restaurant? Should there be a ban on new political parties so that existing parties have a better chance of getting votes? Obviously, the answer to all those questions is no.

In all cases, competition brings the best to the consumer and the consumer in turn rewards those who provide the best product or service. If someone manufactures poor-quality products in industry, or poor-tasting food in the restaurant business, or voices poor ideas in the political marketplace, it is only they who will suffer if competition is allowed, Those who supply the best will eventually be recognized and rewarded by consumers and the taxi industry is no exception to this rule.

The arguments for limiting competition are the same self-serving arguments that would have had the light bulb banned to preserve the candle industry. Limiting competition means nothing less than limiting our standard of living and that is something our politicians should never do. There should be no limit on taxi licenses. Anyone willing to work hard to provide your community with better services should not be prevented from doing so by our politicians, they should be welcomed with open arms. Wouldn't that be a pleasant change?

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