"Many people of color are embracing" smartphone-based ride-sharing apps like Uber and Lyft "as a way to avoid discrimination from traditional taxicab drivers," NPR reports.
One way to remedy the evil of racism is to pass a law prohibiting taxi companies from racially discriminating against passengers, and then to send out undercover government testers to enforce the law. Another way, which seems in this case to be more effective, is to allow the free market and technology to work and solve the problem. The incentive of a reward — the Uber founder and investors' shares of the company's reported $18.2 billion valuation — can be stronger than the inventive of the $500 fines imposed by the District of Columbia Taxi Commission on drivers who refuse to pick up black or disabled passengers.
That doesn't mean we shouldn't have laws outlawing discrimination. Such laws can be valuable means of expressing the morals, values, and ideals of a society. But for the purpose of actually fixing the problem — results — rather than simply expressing intentions in a way that makes the law-passers feel good but doesn't help the minorities who need a taxi — the venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and the smartphones outperform the taxi commission and the highly regulated taxi industry.