The rates are too damn high!”

Many people in Washington, D.C. heard that phrase shouted into a megaphone last week by a man on a float cruising the streets of our nation’s capital. The man with the megaphone was not talking about America’s highest-in-the-OECD corporate tax rates, nor was he referring to the national unemployment rate. He was lambasting the rates charged by the popular ridesharing company Uber, a technology company that provides a platform to connect private drivers and riders.

The float was an advertising stunt by Hailo, a service for hailing taxis. Hailo allows people to request taxis via their smartphones, similar to Uber's ridesharing model. Instead of private individuals linked to Uber driving their own cars, licensed taxi drivers connected to Hailo pick up riders. Once inside, the ride resembles a normal trip in a taxi.

For a limited time, Hailo is lowering its fares during work hours by 50 percent, excluding the $1.50 service fee and driver tips. The company says, “Lower prices and no surge anytime means affordability for everyone, not just the uber-wealthy” (emphasis added). With the temporary promotion, its prices are about 20 percent lower than Uber’s.

Jimmy McMillion (the “rent is too damn high” former New York City mayoral candidate) was the man tasked with promoting Hailo and attacking Uber in D.C. Though the exploit gained much attention, it cannot change the underlying reality that Uber provides superior service compared to taxis.

Hailo was founded by three taxi drivers. While the service offers benefits for cab drivers, Hailo operates within the current, broken taxi system that works against the interests of consumers. Until the advent of ridesharing, the heavily-regulated taxi industry was sheltered from competition by state and local governments that kept new companies and drivers out of the market. This led to poor service and higher prices for everyone else, opening the door for ridesharing companies such as Uber.

If it were not for the disruptive innovation caused by ridesharing, taxis and the government-sanctioned monopolies they operate would not be concerned about the rates charged to customers. They would still be enjoying their privileged positions—at the expense of customers.

Uber doesn’t just benefit consumers; taxi drivers would be better off becoming Uber drivers. For instance, in New York City, the median income for an Uber driver is $90,000 a year, while the New York cabbies usually earn around $30,000. Uber drivers own their own cars and are able to set their own schedules and avoid the annoyance of showing up to work at odd hours just to wait for their employers to dispatch them.

However, Uber has strict customer service standards that many taxi drivers accustomed to a less customer-friendly business model fail to meet. After a few negative user reviews, Uber is quick to remove drivers from its technological platform. This focus on customer satisfaction is the starkest difference between ridesharing companies and traditional taxis.

Hailo is thinking within the current system rather than acting as a transformative company that creates a whole new industry such as ridesharing. While Uber sets its sights on expanding into other areas, such as delivering household goods, and its long-term goal of improving its service and prices to the level that private car ownership is obsolete in cities, Hailo is working to make taxis easier to flag down. Hailo is a small positive step for the besieged taxi industry, but it may be too late to preserve the taxi cartels' undeserved power now that consumers have experienced the immense benefits of ridesharing.

Jared Meyer is a policy analyst at Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. You can follow him on Twitter here. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions for editorials, available at this link.