Re: PT Barnum
I'm not sure about that. From a user perspective, there are probably many advantages to the app method of getting a car. You don't have to try to catch one in transit. You don't have to call in and prearrange something. If taxi places started using apps, you'd still have to a) know which taxi locations are available and b) have installed their app when you are going to the place. And this does at least produce a larger supply of available transports. So there do seem to be real benefits to the users of these applications.
Of course, there are many major downsides as well, both to the increased number of people driving about and the companies administrating the application. I'm not saying they're perfect, or even good. I can't say I use their services very frequently, either. But I don't think it's child's play for a taxi company to duplicate their benefits.