Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Morgantown taxicabs

A great example of regulation to give in class-- at least in Morgantown-- is that of taxicab regulation. It is nearly impossible to hail a cab in Morgantown, and waiting for an hour or more on a weekend night is a fact of life. One co-blogger and I actually paid an individual we didn't know to give us a ride home one evening. The students know the cab situation so it's a very accessible part of the lecture.

Generally, I like to start with the hypothetical question: How many taxis are there in Morgantown? I was surprised this week when a student immediately replied: "Seven."

I thought it was a joke at first, but sure enough, he knows a taxi driver here in town and the last time he spoke with him, there were exactly seven taxis in Morgantown. As a point of reference, there are about 27,000 students at WVU, a comparable number of non-student residents of the town, and six or seven times a year, 70,000+ people come to watch football games here. After speaking more recently with the taxi driver, he got the update that there are now 11 taxis operating in Morgantown.

It turns out that there are three licenses to operate a taxicab company in Morgantown. Then why do we have only 11 cabs? The same person owns all three licenses-- which fed nicely into the next part of the lecture concerning concentrated vs. dispersed costs and benefits.

West Virginia: Where regulation is a way of life.

1 comment:

Will Luther said...

What happened to "open for business"? haha