The modern taxi industry has been serving the working class for almost a century. It is true that the taxi industry is far from perfect. It faces a lot of issues like bad behavior of some drivers, poor customer service, and the lowering number of passengers due to competition with ride-sharing apps. There are also specific problems in some countries like the artificial debt-crisis in the New York taxi industry.
But why is the Taxi Industry Neglected?
Despite these problems, the traditional taxi service still remains to be an essential part of every country’s social and economic ‘ecosystem’. Even though some of the problems faced by the industry are internal, systemic problems also contribute to a large part of these. And the government can do a lot to help solve these problems. However, the taxi industry continues to be neglected. And there are two main reasons why.
It is the “poor man’s transport”
First, taxis are considered as “the poor man’s transport”. Politicians will gain only little for helping solve the industry’s problems. They would prefer giving their efforts to other things that will help them get significant political advantages.
It doesn’t benefit populist politicians
Second, politicians cannot tackle the industry’s problems with populist quick-fixes. Politicians usually have their own agendas when they do something for the public. Since the problems in the taxi industry are too complex, politicians usually just avoid them.
These two reasons are connected and they reflect the current perspective of the government towards the industry.
How Can the Government Help?
Instead of letting the taxi industry “die a natural death”, the government can implement changes to help the industry flourish.
Improve the roads
One way to help the industry is to improve the country’s roads. Improving roads consequently improves the quality of taxi trips and makes them safer. This also helps improve traffic which can lead to higher customer satisfaction. Besides, this doesn’t only benefit the taxi industry but other vehicles as well.
Subsidize new buyers
Another way is to subsidize owners when buying new vehicles. This will greatly help in relieving the pressure off owners and drivers and breaking their debt-cycle. This also relieves time pressures from owners and drivers which can lead to better compliance with road rules. If the government can subsidize bus services, why not taxis?
Implement policies more fairly
Lastly, there should be a more effective and fair policing of our roads. Authorities should treat taxis the same way they treat buses and private vehicles. This will help prevent drivers from circumventing traffic regulations knowing that the implementation of road policies is fair.
These ways generally involve funding or subsidy from the government. This makes the taxi industry a form of investment for the government and shows how the government and taxi industry can go hand in hand. Nonetheless, successful assistance and implementation of regulations will benefit not only the government but, more importantly, its citizens.