Denmark’s Anti-Uber Regulations Only Hurt Itself

Uber, the popular ridesharing company that has improved the lives of commuters everywhere, has announced that it will cease operations in the country of Denmark due to overregulation of its drivers.

The northern European nation had initially ruled Uber illegal back in 2014, but failing to outright ban the service, lawmakers had to resort to regulation to drive it away. The main rule that proved a sticking point for Uber was the requirement that drivers install visible meters in their cars, in effect, transforming them into taxis.

It’s difficult to see the rationale for such a regulation; ostensibly, it’s to provide transparency to passengers so they know what they are being charged as they ride. That’s fine for taxis, but that’s not how Uber works. Operated from your smartphone, Uber tells you how much your ride is going to cost as soon as you call for a car. The price is fixed from the start of the journey, and doesn’t change based on the amount of time spent in the vehicle or the number of miles traveled.

It would therefore make no sense to have meters in the cars. They would serve no function, and might even confuse customers. There’s also the fact that Uber drivers use their own cars, and don’t usually drive full time. Having to install meters would be an expensive and unsightly barrier to entry for drivers who just want to earn a few extra bucks while their kids are at school or during spare time on the weekends.

With this in mind, it’s clear that the regulation exists for only one purpose: to hinder competition. Jan Villadsen, who runs the transportation arm of Denmark’s 3F labor union, claimed that when Uber withdraws, it will protect the jobs of 6,000 taxi drivers.

This is Bernie Sanders’ socialist utopia — a country a little smaller than West Virginia that feels the need to drive out innovative and customer-pleasing technologies in order to protect a few obsolete jobs. But while this is bad news for Danish commuters, it’s probably not that big a deal for Uber itself.

The beautiful thing about consumer sovereignty is that a sufficiently popular business can afford to ignore an entire country, and the country only hurts itself and its people by trying to fence out these kinds of services.

Denmark has a population of about 5.7 million people, meaning that Uber’s inability to operate there is only slightly more impactful than the company’s decision to withdraw its services from Austin, Texas (with a metro-area population of over 2 million).

Denmark can continue to deprive its citizens of more efficient, less expensive means of transportation, while the rest of the world moves on. Uber will be just fine, as will its competitors, each striving to best the others in terms of price and quality.

In the end, governments that try to ward off progress only damage themselves. In the meantime, I would invite any Danes to come visit our lovely country — if not for the weather, than at least to see what they’re missing out on in ridesharing.

This article originally appeared on Conservative Review.

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Free the People publishes opinion-based articles from contributing writers. The opinions and ideas expressed do not always reflect the opinions and ideas that Free the People endorses. We believe in free speech, and in providing a platform for open dialog. Feel free to leave a comment!

Logan Albright

Logan Albright is the Head Writer and Sound Engineer at Free the People. He is the author of Conform or Be Cast Out: The (Literal) Demonization of Nonconformists and Our Servants, Our Masters: How Control Masquerades as Assistance.

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