The Washington Post has two articles today about regulation (or lack of regulation) of sharing services like Uber and Airbnb.
In an article entitled "Uber might actually want regulation. Here’s why," the Post reports:
Though they are loath to admit it, ridesharing outfits like Uber and Lyft have profited in no small part from dodging regulations.
…. They have outpaced the law in many locales, saving them money on registration fees, inspections, and background checks.
…. Indiana is the latest place to consider a law that would treat ridesharing drivers a bit more like cabbies. [Indiana State Senator] Yoder’s bill calls for background checks and mandatory insurance. It bars sex offenders, and people who have been convicted of a felony in the past seven years.
Here’s the twist: Yoder, a Republican, said that Uber actually wants these regulations to pass.
A second article, on the Post's Wonkblog, is entitled "What happens when Uber and Airbnb become their own regulators."
Airbnb recently announced it would collect and remit hotel taxes from its users in Washington, D.C., as part of a broader move to resolve tax conflicts — should hosts pay them? how do they pay them? — in some of the company's largest markets. The move highlights a larger shift in the the "sharing economy," where thousands of people are now earning income off their second bedrooms, personal cars or spare time.
Namely: Companies like Airbnb and Uber are increasingly taking on some of the roles that have traditionally belonged to government.
Airbnb plans to collect taxes on behalf of individual users on the platform, and it will lump all that money into a single big tax payment to local governments (whether that's quarterly or monthly depends on the city). … To protect the privacy of its users, the company is effectively serving as the tax collector for them.