Abbey Stemler, assistant professor of business law and ethics at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and a legal expert on the sharing economy, cheers Wednesday’s vote by the New York City Council to place a one-year cap on the number of ride-hailing services vehicles from Uber, Lyft and other ridesharing platforms.
Stemler’s research focuses on this growing sector of the economy and argues that these kinds of companies shouldn't be self-regulated.
“Transportation network companies like Uber address a clear consumer pain-point -- the need for a convenient, efficient and digital way to get around. For the most part, people really like the services they provide and are becoming increasingly dependent on them,” she said. “However, they also produce negative externalities -- or costs to society that they do not pay.
“According to studies, Uber and Lyft are actually increasing traffic congestion in New York City. While these companies assert that they are encouraging more people to share rides and forego owning a car, they are reducing reliance on public transportation,” she said. “If the price of an Uber or Lyft increases, some people will likely make the shift back to public transportation, which would reduce pollution and congestion.”
“New York City is somewhat unique. In order to ensure the quality and safety of taxis, the city chose to give exclusive rights to drive a taxi to medallion owners. Many people used their savings and went into debt to acquire these medallions to not only create a stream of revenue but also to prepare for retirement -- when medallions can be worth more than a million dollars. A cap on transportation network companies would help alleviate medallion owners’ unforeseen financial predicaments.”
Stemler’s paper, "The Myth of the Sharing Economy and Its Implications for Regulating Innovation," was published in the Emory Law Journal.
She can be reached at 502-640-6048 (m), 812-856-1834 (o) and firstname.lastname@example.org.