Jamie Crain, a spokeswoman for Uber, sent Streetsblog excerpts from over 2,000 taxi complaints filed with the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection between February and April. That’s an average of 29 complaints filed every day, even though early spring is usually a slow season for travel in Chicago.
Fully 53 percent of complaints were about serious offenses that endangered others, namely reckless driving and assault, with many of the rest about rude drivers or billing. Some of the more egregious complaints filed include:
“Cab was driving the wrong way down a one-way street, struck a bicyclist and then fled the scene.”
“Cab driver jumped out of his cab and drop-kicked a bicyclist, then picked up the bike and threw it… The bicyclist was an older man.”
“The cab did an illegal U-turn on a red light, almost hitting a pedestrian at Wacker and Adams.”
“Driver ran two red lights and almost hit someone on a bicycle.”
“Driver texting while driving, including on the Kennedy.”
The complaints heavily centered on parts of town that see the most taxis, with 49 percent of complaints filed within the three wards that cover downtown and O’Hare International Airport.
Chicago deserves better from its professional drivers, and now rideshare operations are bringing a whole new class of paid drivers onto streets shared with pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. Changes to livery licensing are a key part of New York City’s plans for achieving Vision Zero, and they should be welcomed by both taxi and rideshare operators as a way to reduce liability costs. Expanded safety training, in-vehicle monitoring, and strict penalties for reckless driving should also be part of Chicago’s agenda as it moves to modernize its regulations.
If you see a taxicab or a ridesharing vehicle driving dangerously, you can file a complaint online or by calling 311.