Battle brewing over new ride-sharing services

A war is brewing on the streets of Madison that pits yellow and green cabs against ordinary vehicles with bright pink mustaches. But make no mistake, the City of Madison is taking this battle seriously.

Madison’s Transit and Parking Commission this week will discuss the ascendance of two new, unregulated ride-sharing companies that recently entered the Madison market. The companies, Lyft and Uber, use apps to arrange rides between drivers and customers. The drivers use their own cars, and in Lyft’s case, the cars are identifiable by a giant pink mustache attached to the grill.

Madison’s taxi industry is concerned about the new business model, citing a lack of oversight and an uneven playing field.

“The questions are, do they have the same kinds of protections for riders that taxi companies do, and do they provide the same level of service that our taxi companies do?” Ald. Chris Schmidt, a member of the Transit and Parking Commission, told The Capital Times.

Meanwhile, the upstart ride-sharing industry claims that local governments are attempting to protect the taxi industry at the expense of consumers.