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City rightly sees no need to limit licensing

June 13, 2012
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

The Fairmont City Council is to be credited for its decision this week to revoke the limit on the number of taxi cab licenses in the city. We like the fact that the council recognized that the market is perfectly capable of determining how individual cab owners will fare. The city didn't need to act as an arbitrary agent, picking winners and losers through licensing.

The city has been issuing only four licenses for taxi cabs. This year, one company bought all four, sparking complaints from a previous competitor and from customers.

There was some discussion at the council meeting about whether the city ought to demand certain standards of license holders. These related to issues of maintenance and cleanliness of cabs. But Mayor Randy Quiring was exactly right when he said competition will regulate those things. Customers can decide if a given cab ride is satisfactory and whether they would hire the same company again.

There are many things in our society like the licensing issue in which government intervenes, supposedly for a good purpose, and creates a new problem or inequity. We hope more local and state governments follow the lead of Fairmont, on a wider range of issues. The federal government too, of course, could learn a lesson.



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