A bill allowing the California Public Utilities Commission to regulate prices charged by ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber is advancing through the state legislature because Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) isn’t a fan of “surge pricing.”
When the supply of Uber cars on the road is insufficient to keep up with demand, the price increases to summon more drivers. While this usually increases fares by only a dollar or two, sometimes the increase is much more. On New Year’s Eve, for example, cities like Miami and Seattle saw prices 10 times the normal fare, with short trips costing $100 or more.
While regulating such practices may sound like a good idea, basic economics says we should be skeptical.
|Abigail R. Hall is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Tampa.|