Goldwyn: Uber, Lyft technology can help taxi industry

WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, D.C. taxi cab drivers created gridlock in a protest against upstart private ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber X. Those app-based services are not regulated like taxi cabs, and cab drivers argue that they’re taking away their livelihood.

Apps such as Uber X, Lyft and other tech-based, private ride-sharing programs are disrupting the taxi cab industry — but embracing the technology behind them may help the industry, according to Eric Goldwyn, contributor for The New Yorker and City Lab.

“I think ultimately what we’d like to see is some of this technology getting into the hands of [taxi] drivers themselves, so that they can sort of not have an intermediary between them and their passengers, so they can really customize that experience and provide them with the best sort of possible ride,” Goldwyn said.

Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles told Uber and Lyft to stop operating in Virginia because they are operating without proper authority. Uber has launched a public lobbying effort to continue operating in Virginia.

In May, Lyft defied a New Mexico order to stop operating there, and New Mexico officials this month denied Uber a temporary operating permit. Colorado authorities are regulating Uber and Lyft, requiring drivers to pass background checks on criminal and driving history among other regulations.

For more on the taxi drivers’ protest against ride-sharing services, see the WTOP live blog.

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