Many Las Vegas residents and tourists alike were sad to see the ride-sharing app Uber get the boot from the state of Nevada, but the responsible party promised a comparable service, and it looks like they’re about to deliver. The Nevada Taxicab Authority (NTA) approved the usage of the Ride Genie mobile phone app this year, and the public launch is only days away. And it’s for sure legal, right? Yes—at least most every attorney in Las Vegas would assure you that it is, so if you’re curious, give it a try, if you have the money in the bank, that is.
One of the biggest criticisms of the government-approved mobile app is that it’s expensive. But when you’ve got all these regulations to follow, you’ve got government salaries that have to be paid. That’s why Ride Genie’s services come with not one, but two automatic $3 fees that take effect as soon as you use your smartphone to request a ride. And, if you cancel your ride later than three minutes after requesting it, you’ll be charged a $10 inconvenience fee. Which sounds fun, right?
Even if it’s not amusing, it may be what Nevada has come to stay. An attorney in Las Vegas for the NTA who wanted to see Uber out so bad in the first place would probably hail the virtues of Ride Genie—that it leverages existing cab companies and already-licensed taxi company drivers, that it doesn’t favor one of the area’s sixteen taxi companies over another, making it egalitarian and technologically impressive. But extolling the benefits of the centralized dispatch system may be as far as a fan of Ride Genie gets in singing its praises.
Well, tourists might still be excited about it, as rides in and around the downtown area, the strip, and the airport will cost them less than the attorney in Las Vegas they’ll need to hire to get them out of the trouble they got into partying too hard, but what about the residents? North Las Vegas and other highly residential areas are often bereft of quick and easy transportation options. And while some companies “say they plan to pay drivers working the residential areas at a higher rate than those in the resort corridor,” does that mean that the residents will bear the increased cost of that transportation?
Business litigation attorney in Las Vegas Karl Shelton may not disagree with the letter of the law—Uber was in violation of what the NTA set up on the Nevada law books as far as acceptable means of “public” transportation. But in terms of arguing for innovation that spurs more affordable, convenient, and efficient services, NTA may merely be treading water. Las Vegas residents and visitors will soon let us know how they like using the Ride Genie app, and meanwhile, Uber is still shut out of becoming a legal operator in the state.