February 3, 2015

Readings: Night buses, ride-hailing and regulation

From Pacific Standard:


How a Start-Up That Wouldn’t Break the Rules Was Forced to Fail

Night School aimed to provide late-night transit service between San Francisco and Oakland, supplementing the public bus and train services that provide intermittent, if any, service after midnight. The company would use the public school buses that sit unused in parking lots on the weekends, and charge $8 per ride or $15-20 per month for unlimited service (the price points fluctuated).
(Illustration: Susie Cagle)
The school buses seemed a little twee, but the strategy was clear and smart. And it struck a nerve. Last May, Night School received a glut of positive media coverage ahead of its imminent launch. Two weeks later, it was postponed—the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had become involved. The state agency, a target of much start-up ire, had previously attempted to fine and regulate Uber, Lyft, Sidecar, and others.
At the end of 2014, Night School announced that it was no longer postponing the project—the founders were killing it.Why were some private transit start-ups able not just to survive but thrive under current regulatory standards while Night School collapsed? And what does that mean for the future of start-up business in California?.
Article here.

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  1. First Rule of starting a business: Find out what regulations you need to operate under. BEFORE announcing your brilliant idea to the world.

    If these guys didn’t even do THAT basic amount of due diligence, then likely there were lots of other large and insoluble problems with their business plan.

    And yeah, regulation is a good thing.

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