For a long time now, basically every jurisdiction in the United States has had a policy of promoting car ownership via subjecting personal vehicles to a much lower regulatory standard than alternative means of getting around. You can buy a van if you want to. And getting a license to drive a van is pretty easy. But getting a permit to drive a van around town giving rides to people in exchange for money is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Then alongside this thicket of artificial scarcity of cabs and bans on fixed-route intracity bus and van operation, most American cities offer some desultory publicly owned mass transit operations. But the overall idea is pretty clear—everyone should own a car and drive it around almost all the time, while rich tourists or visiting businessmen grab the occasional cab from the airport.

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