MEMPHIS — Most Memphis residents already know that city officials, citing public safety concerns, imposed cease-and-desist orders against private ride-share companies Uber and Lyft. But city officials were possibly acting in their own interests instead.

Memphis officials have a strong incentive to help cab companies beat back any competition, said Justin Owen, president of the Nashville-based free market-oriented Beacon Center of Tennessee.

“There have long been cozy relationships between taxi companies and cities all across the country,” Owen told Tennessee Watchdog.