My friend and colleague Brad Rogers has a great post at his blog on Queensland Taxi Licenses and Drunken Violence. Brad argues:
Queensland’s taxi regulations are costing the Brisbane public over $80 million per year and may be contributing to drunken violence. Queensland’s Department of Transport constrains the number of taxi licenses which increases the prices of taxi fares and long periods of waiting at peak periods. The long lines of drunk people in the early morning on the weekend waiting for a taxi are one of the sources of drunken violence. Deregulation of the taxi industry will reduce the cost of taxis by an estimated half the current fare and reduce waiting time for customers. Getting party goer’s people off the street quickly and cheaply will assist in reducing drunken violence. [emphasis added]
While taxi industry deregulation wouldn’t be a complete solution to alcohol-related violence, it would certainly help reduce it to some extent. Regardless, the potential gains to consumers from deregulation are so large we really need to consider it.