Why TNCs Will Be Regulated Like TaxisHistorically Speaking

Project status


Start date: 01/01/15
End date: 03/30/18


Principal investigator:

About the research

With the advent of transportation network companies, or TNCs, as they are labeled by the state of California, there has been considerable discussion, legislative action, and lawsuits regarding their attempts to operate without being subject to local taxi, sedan, limousine, or private-for-hire regulations. Indeed, across almost every continent, Uber has attempted to simply disregard local city and airport rules and regulations established for all commercial ground passenger transportation carriers. Uber argues that it is not a transportation company but rather a technology company, and so by definition it is not subject to commercial vehicle regulations. As a result, fierce and expensive legal and legislative battles have been bitterly fought. However, these legal proceedings rarely address just why there are regulations for commercial vehicles and their drivers.

It is therefore incumbent upon public officials to learn from this phenomenon and design a taxi system that provides drivers a fair income opportunity and maximum utilization from vehicles, to offer and maintain a high level of service at reasonable rates to residents and visitors alike. A best guess is that the industry will experience a form of hybrid taxi/TNC type transportation firm that offers both services in competition with national TNC brands for a while, but that ultimately there will be re-regulation and TNCs will be included within the local regulatory framework. There may be an opportunity for statewide or even national taxi/TNC regulations, but as in the past, drivers will be vetted, entry will be restricted, and public safety in the form of commercial liability insurance for all drivers will be standard requirements.





  • Metropolitan St. Louis Taxicab Commission
  • Midwest Transportation Center
  • University of Missouri - Saint Louis