Today’s Headlines

  • Deal With Indiana Commits Illinois to Spend $250 Million on Illiana (Tribune)
  • City Tells Uber X to Stop Picking Up Riders from Airports (Tribune, Sun-Times)
  • City Touts Effectiveness of CTA Security Cameras (NBC)
  • ACLU Worried About 360-Degree Panning By Red Light Cams (Sun-Times)
  • Pay-By-Phone Parking Will Expand to More Downtown Areas (DNA)
  • Kane County Is Getting New Pace Bus Shelters (RTA)
  • Man Killed in Barrington Motorcycle Crash (Tribune)
  • Vehicular Homicide Victim Antonio Mendez Remembered by His Mother (DNA)
  • Ventra System Is Calculated to Make Money Off Tourists (John Jackson)
  • “Ugly Ol’ Halsted” Stickers Comment on the State of the Bridgeport Strip (DNA)
  • New Timbuk2 Bag Shop Will Offer Loaner Bikes, “Indoor Parklet” (DNA)

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  • Cash Rules Everything

    The Illiana expressway is baffling. It seems like the one of a few select issues that liberals and most fiscal conservatives would agree is horrible idea…yet plans for it get finalized.

  • I’ve been told that South Side and south suburban legislators lobbied Quinn hard to go through with the project because it will create jobs for their constituents. However, the Illiana won’t create nearly as many jobs as advertised: http://chi.streetsblog.org/2013/11/05/how-idots-bogus-job-creation-claims-fed-the-campaign-for-the-illiana/

  • Fred

    I generally think that government conspiracy theories are dumb, but for this project I can’t come up with a single rational explanation as to why it is going forward. Some associate of Michael Madigan MUST be in line to make a boatload of money, so he must be pulling strings in the background to make it happen. If someone has a non-tin foil hat explanation for this project I would love to hear it.

  • rohmen

    I’ve used Uber X in the past, and feel like they do fill a hole in service that taxis are currently not filing (i.e., on demand pick up at a certain location with knowledge that the driver will actually show).

    That said, Uber as a company seems to be embracing a model where they intend to profit as much as possible by cutting corners and blatantly encouraging drivers to break the law. First, it was cutting corners on insurance, which they only fixed once cities started calling them out on it and the public became aware of the grey areas in coverage Uber was operating under.

    Now its blatantly encouraging their drivers to violate the law by illegally picking up passengers for a fare at the airports.

    I’m all for free market competition, but it’s not true competition when you basically have a player who can charge drastically lower rates because they’re willing to operate outside of the clear boundaries of the law.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Since Taxis (and their passengers) pay a $4.00 tax to pick up a rider at the airport, how will Uber and the rest of the other ride share drivers remit this tax? Honor system? I don’t think so. One of the reasons we have the system at the airports is to collect that tax. If the ride share companies want to bypass the entire system, they have to be collecting and remitting that tax. Also, gypsy drivers used to be a real problem at the airport.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    If it was going to be an entirely privately funded and built toll road, I’d probably hold my nose and say yes. However, since we are calling on taxpayers to make sure it is profitable for private operators, I think it reminds me of the sweet deal the White Sox owners got for a new Cominsky Park. No rent unless the gate was greater than a certain number (that I can’t be sure of). So for years, they haven’t contributed a cent towards their ball park paid by us taxpayers.

  • rohmen

    Agreed on the tax issue.

    And the really horrible thing about uberx in my mind is their complete willingness to throw their own drivers under the bus. The ban on gypsy cabs and the duty to pay a $4 tax for departures isn’t a gray area.

    Uberx instructed their drivers to do something blatantly illegal, without disclosing the illegality of the conduct (and in fact making it seem like there had been a change in policy). Was uberx going to defend these drivers against the City’s enforcement efforts if/when a driver was caught picking up a passenger illegally??

    They did the exact same thing with insurance–telling drivers (and the public) that they were properly covered without warning/disclosing to the drivers that their own personal insurer would drop coverage immediately if the driver was found to be driving for hire during an accident.

    Uberx has now proven themselves shady in multiple situations

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    Maybe not paying the tax makes it a “more pleasant experience.”

  • Fred

    Just hop on one of the free hotel shuttles, then get UberX to pick you up at the hotel. You could also “hitchhike” somewhere off airport grounds. Just stand in the arrival pickup area and start asking people if they would drop you off somewhere off property. You’ll probably get told no most of the time, but I’d bet it would work 100% of the time if you were willing to ask enough people.

  • rohmen

    All of which would be completely legal conduct, and none of which is conduct that uberx actually instructed its drivers and customers to consider doing.

  • Fred

    Actually, it would be interesting if UberX were to strike an agreement with one of the local hotels to do just that. An official Hyatt O’Hare/UberX shuttle. UberX could even throw them some money monthly. Or they could get their own lot just off property and run their own shuttle. There are plenty of ways UberX could get around this if they so chose.

  • rohmen

    Not to beat a dead horse, but the point isn’t that there are workarounds uber can use to avoid this law (there are, as you rightly note), it’s that uber didn’t even try. Instead, they just instructed their drivers to ignore the law in order to maximize their profits in this City.

    That’s not ethical business conduct, and it suggests to me that ride-share companies likely do need to be regulated to the extent they’ve already demonstrated a willingness to engage in such clearly unethical conduct.

  • Fred
  • rohmen

    This is some of the stuff that started making me see red in relation to uber: http://www.sfbg.com/politics/2014/03/24/uber%E2%80%99s-secret-%E2%80%9Cproprietary%E2%80%9D-insurance-policy-leaked