Chicago cabbies want to install a $50 fee for passengers who throw up in their cars.
“If somebody throws up in the back of a cab, it’s no laughing matter to that cabdriver, who now has to take a couple of hours to detail the cab. It’s hard to get that smell out if you’ve ever experienced anything like that,” cabdriver George Lutfallah said, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
Ok, we do feel for cabbies, but as New York Magazine’s Jessica Pressler says, let’s hope this won’t happen for several reasons:
• This is precisely what cabs are for, to drive drunk people home! If people won’t get in a cab because they’re afraid they’re going to barf, we’re just going to have people all over the sidewalks, passed out in their own vomit.
• You just puked in a cab! Your night is already bad. The last thing you need is to lose $50.
• Plus, you probably don’t have $50, because obviously you spent all your money at the bar
There’s an interesting economic issue here. A potential $50 fine could incentivise people to drive drunk more often. This would mean that the fine would impose social costs on the rest of society while benefiting only cab drivers.
Of course, the cab drivers could argue that right now the situation is reversed. They are made to suffer the costs of a social benefit without adequate reward. Perhaps they should be lobbying for a subsidy from the government instead–everytime some one pukes, they’d get a $50 check from the government. This cost would be borne by society at large, which is who benefits. It could even make cabbies more likely to pick up drunks late at night.