Last month, Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope complained about the scooter sharing company Bird failing to obtain the necessary permits before descending on the town even though such permits didn’t exist. But now Pope has drummed one up, empowering unelected bureaucrats at local colleges to decide which companies may or may not operate in Lubbock.
The city’s new scooter and bike sharing ordinance states that a local college, such as Texas Tech or Lubbock Christian University, must have a contract with the company in order for a permit to be obtained. Therefore, unelected college administrators have the power to effectively decide who can and cannot provide services to the citizens of Lubbock.
Citizens originally complained that Pope’s desire to charge a hefty fee for Bird to operate in Lubbock would harm the economic competitiveness of the city. But the mayor’s resulting ordinance yields even more interference in the free market and would pave the way for a bureaucrat-decided scooter share monopoly.
Reports from City Hall say the Lubbock City Council has recently been in talks with Lime, another scooter sharing company. A media consultant working on their behalf even stated that they welcome the new ordinance. This is not surprising, as Lime likely approves of the proposed ordinance since it would serve as red tape for their competitor.
If electric scooters are to be regulated in Lubbock, those regulations should be reasonably based on what serves the public good and protects citizens and their interests, not which company can better woo local bureaucrats. Indeed, the city should set a standard and then allow all adhering companies to compete for customers.
Those who identify with conservative values tend to want as little government interference as possible, and your local elected officials have the ability to expand or contract the government in your backyard. Lubbock residents should stay informed and remember this proposal when looking at Pope’s record.
While government has necessary tasks, needless involvement in the marketplace is not among them. It is the role of individual citizens to choose whether or not Lime, Bird, or any other scooter sharing company is beneficial. For Lubbock to prosper, bureaucrats should stop playing around with the economy and let individual consumers decide what is in their own best interest.