Some guy’s friend gets killed by a drunk driver and he decides to do something about it. He starts a service to keep drunks off the road by offering free rides home. It turns out that Quincy, Illinois, is well stocked with semi-responsible drunks, so “business” booms. He adds another car to the service, and eventually a bus. Local taxi companies are not amused.
The cab company complained loud enough that the Quincy City Council changed its taxi and limousine ordinance to remove the words “for hire” from its definitions and thus eliminate the loophole Schoenakase was operating under. Following the change, Jonathan applied for a license and the Chief of Police was supposedly about to approve it, but withdrew and said Schoenakase needed to clear up some legal issues.
When you’re charging for something and someone else figures out a way to offer it for free, normally you’re SOL. Unless, of course, you happen to be operating in a regulated industry with licensing requirements—and you happen to have the ear of the city council and/or the chief of police. Then there’s another, more appealing alternative: You can make the competition illegal.
Hero guy Jonathon Schoenakase has been arrested twice in “sting operations,” all for the want of a $10 license.
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