Specifically what parts of the '79 reform "didn't work?" The rate change, the cap lift, or something else? And who didn't it work for, really? The fact that caps were reestablished doesn't prove that what we have now is the best approach, particularly in an industry whose legal framework is held up
as an example of regulatory capture. These are honest questions, because I've read many of the same reports you have, Goldy, and I never could get a clear read on the reasons things changed back in Seattle in the 80s. I suspect it had less to do with facts on the ground and more with a resurgent taxi lobby.
BTW, check out Ireland for an example of a cap lift that's stuck. If memory serves they also set up a program to help compensate license owners for the resulting drop in the licenses' (absurdly inflated) worth.