In France the other day an angry mob of cabbie sympathizers attacked an Uber car, damaging both the car and the young businesswoman passenger.
Uber is one of a number of new companies that rely on the ubiquitous phone app to connect customer with product in real time, in this case a ride.
To protect the iconic cab industry the French government enacted a law saying Uber cars must wait 15 minutes before responding to an Internet hail from a customer.
Which would be kind of like our government passing a law in 1908 saying automobiles cannot go any faster than a horse.
In Amherst, in spite of an extensive PVTA free bus system, the cab industry exploded over the past few years going from one or two sleepy companies to an energetic dozen two years ago.
But once the town enacted stricter inspection process requiring each cab to have an expensive meter installed the number of companies dropped to nine and certified cabs went from a high of 61 to the current 19.
Since Amherst is a college town it should come as no surprise that this new way of doing business gained an early foothold. Both UMass and Amherst College have embraced Zipcars which will somewhat impact the local cab industry.
But the real cab killer is Sobrio, a ride sharing program run by the Student Government Association that connects riders with customers at the tap of a finger. The program test run last semester was so successful (handling 350-500 rides per weekend) the SGA decided to kill the more expensive less efficient "Sober Shuttle" bus program.
For traditional cab companies doing business in Amherst the handwriting is now etched on an electronic wall. "While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping."