EDITORIAL: At their own peril

State taxi regulators are again raising the specter of ensnaring ride-sharing companies in their bureaucratic tentacles, a move that would be bad news for consumers.

Stan Olsen, chairman of the Nevada Taxicab Authority, said this week that he will likely urge Nevada lawmakers to give his agency the authority to oversee outfits such as Uber and Lyft in the same manner they do cab companies.

“In my belief there’s room for both groups in Nevada,” he said, “but it will require a change in the business model. It rises to the legislative level to make sure it’s done right.”

A change in the business model? That’s a massive red flag.

Since the state sanctioned their Las Vegas operations last September, Uber and Lyft have taken off in the market. During the first year, Uber — which now sports 11,000 drivers in Clark County — has handled more than 1 million airport rides. Lyft officials noted in September that they’ve tripled the number of rides in the past six months.

The “business model” is wildly successful. Shoehorning the companies into some hidebound regulatory structure makes no sense as anything but a ham-fisted attempt to protect the Las Vegas taxi cartel.

Mr. Olsen would be on far sturdier ground were he to ask lawmakers to loosen the bureaucratic chains that currently bind the cab companies.

Unfortunately, Democratic lawmakers — who now control both houses in Carson City — might indeed be inclined to meddle. That would be a mistake. Nevada consumers have spoken. Legislators undertake any intervention to cripple the ride-sharing industry at their own peril.

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