Today’s Headlines

  • Regional Transit Ridership Only Rose 1.9% From 2008-2012 (Tribune, Sun-Times)
  • Illiana Could Have Tolls Four Times As High as Other Local Tollways (Crain’s)
  • Lawyer in Suit Against Ride-Share Companies Calls Them “Elitist, Exclusionary” (DNA)
  • State Rep Candidate Eddie Winters Makes Ill-Informed BRT Comment at Forum (DNA)
  • Woman Killed in Head-On Crash on Northwest Side (Tribune)
  • Speed Cams Issuing Tickets by John “Beans” Beniac Park (CDOT)
  • Bike Portland Catches Wind of Go Bronzeville TDM Program
  • Local Municipalities Cope With Road Salt Shortage (Sun-Times)
  • Divvy Diary: Bike-Share Takes the Pain Out of Hyde Park Appointments (Sun-Times)
  • UIC Hosts Winter Biking Seminar
  • Move Over Honku, Here Are the Winners of Active Trans‘ Haiku Contest

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • CL

    It will be very interesting to see how the war between the taxi industry and Lyft / Uber plays out. I am surprised that the city is basically allowing the ride share companies to keep operating as they are — a $25,000 fee per company plus $25 per driver is nothing compared to what taxis pay. The proposed safety / training regulations are also pretty light.

    I suppose Rahm likes the ride share companies because young professionals prefer Uber to taxis, but it’s surprising to see him screw the taxis this much.

    I’ve never tried either service, but being able to pay with a credit card is very appealing to me. I always meekly offer cash because I don’t want to get yelled at. However, I don’t use ride share companies because you have to call in advance… if I have enough time for that, I might as well just take the CTA. I’m used to just walking outside and hailing a cab in two minutes, and the ride share companies can’t provide that.

  • Juicy J

    Besides him likely having zero power in the first place, what power could Eddie Winters even have in regards to BRT on Ashland? The funding seems like it would come from the city and the federal government?

  • BlueFairlane

    I’m used to just walking outside and hailing a cab in two minutes, and the ride share companies can’t provide that.

    This is the effect I’m most curious about should the internet cab companies survive long-term. I know at least locally, cab companies run very close to the margin. If some internet service grabs enough of the market, traditional cab companies will start folding, and the number of cabs on the street will drop. In the long-term, the urban benefit of just grabbing a passing cab may vanish.

  • duh

    I’m surprised Rahm is allowing these companies to operate as well. Perhaps the Russian guy that owns a large percentage of Chicago’s taxi medallions isn’t as friendly with Rahm as he is/was with the Daleys (both the former mayor and his son, Patrick). If I remember correctly, this is the guy that stocked his taxi fleet with vehicles that had been totaled and were not safe for driving.

  • CL

    That would be unfortunate — right now we’re so saturated that it takes me like one minute to find a cab in Rogers Park, which is great in emergencies.

    I’ve had as many bad experiences with cab drivers as anyone (my favorite was the one who spent the entire ride trying to talk me out of being a lesbian), but I think we need to be careful about allowing ride share companies these competitive advantages. We can’t just force cab drivers to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars while allowing other companies to offer the exact same service without those fees and regulations.

  • Haha… the Illiana toll thing cracks me up. It’s the same scenario with the 53 extension in Lake County. People are complaining because it’ll cost $5 to use it, and even that amount would barely raise 15% of capital costs over the first few decades.

  • Ryan Wallace

    The $25,000k/$25 fee doesn’t seem like a like a lot compared to taxis, but it would be a huge barrier if they were required before the companies entered the Chicago market. Uber/Sidecar/Lyft may have never entered the Chicago market if such a barrier existed from the beginning.

    “However, I don’t use ride share companies because you have to call in advance… if I have enough time for that, I might as well just take the CTA. I’m used to just walking outside and hailing a cab in two minutes, and the ride share companies can’t provide that” — This is the exact reason that the same regulations need not apply to rideshare companies. Regulations exist for taxis precisely because you can walk out to the curb and hail one, it protects the public from being duped. The public doesn’t need to be protected from rideshare companies in the same way because the services are inherently different.

  • BlueFairlane

    I don’t buy this logic. Are you saying people aren’t duped by things on the internet? I know a Nigerian prince who would argue otherwise.

  • Ryan Wallace

    “The internet” is not where you go to get these services. You can not get spammed in the same way someone could paint a car to look just like a taxi.

  • what_eva

    It’s possible there could be a state component to the local match portion

  • Jim Mitchell

    I generally agree that we ought to try to level the playing field, but the bumps might not be in obvious places, and the new services do not look to be “apples to apples” comparable with existing, City-licensed taxi services. As just some examples I can think of, Uber, Lyft, et al. cannot (1) pick up rides from Chicago airports (or at least cannot join the hacks’ line at the official taxi stands; I suppose they could pick up pre-arranged fares from the cell phone lots) or (2) be hailed on the street like a taxi. Their fees also go up during high-demand periods (including rush hours and bad weather); taxi fees may be high, but at least they stay the same 24/7. Taxis also accept cash; rideshare systems do not (as far as I know), and that in itself excludes a huge portion of the populace in Chicago who do not have bank accounts/credit from using their services. I am not supposing that I know the answers, but the questions and the situation itself are more complex than just assuming these new services are direct competitors or that taxi companies are not getting some market advantages – or offering superior services – as a benefit/cost of holding their licenses.