I am behind Low’s case for an approach to car-sharing services that benefits consumers and does not over-protect taxi company incumbents (Straits Times). But I share a concern, that often in such debates, the (car-sharing, aka service providers) drivers’ interests to earn a honest living, could easily be side-lined.
Through my frequent car-sharing experiences, I received near unanimous feedback from existing drivers about their eroding earnings because of these intermediaries’ incredible market power to recruit other new drivers and set lower fares. Many of these drivers are full time drivers and they only receive about 80% of the final fares, after paying the intermediaries their cut. The drivers mentioned that they were considering a move back to regular taxi service once their current one-year contract is over, in order to earn a better and stable income.
In midst of these upcoming debates, regulators should never forget to put people interests, the commuters and the drivers, at the heart of their policy considerations.