Well let's give them the message that yes we are definitely being protectionist and spell out loud and clear what we are protecting.
We are protecting:
1. The hard won exclusive right to ply for hire.
3. The public, from the riff raff that seeks to put them in danger such as the unsafe Pedicab, the unlicensed tout and the uninsured PH driver who touts a job or takes a virtual hail from an app.
Of course you will get the multi national vampires stating its free trade and that's good.
Well experience has shown (utilities, banks, supermarkets etc.) that it is not, as soon as these people have 'market dominance' they squeeze every penny out of the consumer and kill any new competition.
The vulnerability of the late night passenger and those who need the special facilities of a purpose designed cab prove that they and the cab trade need both regulation and protection.
Throwing us and therefore them to the wolves of corporate greed who are beyond the reach of the regulatory and taxation authorities is reckless.
If these raiders were offering cut price unregulated legal services, accountancy or any other so called 'professional services', you can be sure the 'great and the good' would move swiftly to stamp it out!
How then do we best protect ourselves?
There has been a lot of moves by many to bring all the cab trade together to speak as one, that seems doomed to failure as small minded parochial self interest rules at present.
We have a workable alternative, in that we rebuild a version of the old London taxi board where all (and it must be all) those who represent the trade (drivers unions and local associations and fleet owners come together), the others such as circuits, schools, manufacturers etc. can contribute but we need to tread carefully and set rules about conflicts of interest and have a good leadership.
Protectionism is good for you!