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Las Vegas Cab Companies Look To Even Playing Field With Uber, Lyft

Ariel Zambelich

The effort to bring ride-sharing to Nevada keeps moving forward

Two months ago, Governor Brian Sandoval used his pen to sign several bills opening the door for ride-hailing companies in Nevada.

But, Lyft and Uber are still months away from hitting the streets.

One piece of business that needs to be solved first is insuring the survival of the taxi cab industry in the face of increased competition.

Last week, the Nevada Taxicab Authority gave cab companies what they wanted – limited deregulation.

Rick Velotta is a transportation reporter with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He’s been covering the fight between ride-hailing companies and taxi cabs.

Velotta said the ride-sharing companies are the first real challenge to the cab companies ever.

"I think at the present time they're looking at them as a real threat to taking market share away for them so they felt that they needed to do something," Velotta said.

Under the rule changes approved by the authority, medallions, which are the special license plates given to cabs, will have all time and geographic restrictions lifted. 

This allows cabs to drive anywhere in the valley any time on any day of the week. 

"The cab companies are in support of this but the cab drivers are not," Velotta explained. "They feel like if there are too many cabs on the road it is going to cut into each individual drivers share of the pie."

Velotta said he talked to some cab drivers who are considering abandoning their jobs and instead becoming a Lyft or Uber drivers.

However, many have looked at what they would have to pay for insurance, gasoline, maintenance  and background checks and decided it would not be worth it. 

Velotta said that issue is just one of the problems still to be worked out as the new technology rolls out.

"I still think it is an open question on what's going to happen on these," Velotta said.  

Rick Velotta, transportation reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal

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