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LA Ride-Sharing Wars: Before Uber and Lyft was the battle against jitney cabs




Passengers are seen boarding busses for a real estate promotional tour in the Hollywoodland Tract in 1928. Local Pacific Electric jitney busses ran between Hollywoodland, Beachwood Canyon and Beverly Hills.
Passengers are seen boarding busses for a real estate promotional tour in the Hollywoodland Tract in 1928. Local Pacific Electric jitney busses ran between Hollywoodland, Beachwood Canyon and Beverly Hills.
Los Angeles Public Library

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Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft are flourishing these days, but it's been a very bumpy ride.

Throughout the country, these car services have met with fierce resistance from cab drivers and city officials who claim there isn't enough regulation to ensure fair competition and passenger safety. Here in Los Angeles, it's history repeating itself.

One hundred years ago this month, a gentlemen picked up a passenger in his Ford Model T, beginning a very heated battle over something known as jitneys. They were at the center of a battle where — and this is going to sound familiar — city officials claimed there wasn't enough regulation to ensure fair competition and passenger safety.

Within a few years of them taking off, jitneys were all but regulated to extinction.

Matthew Mitchell, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, joins Take Two to retell the history of this service and what insight it gives on how the fight over ride-sharing apps could play out.