Today’s Headlines

  • State of Illinois Providing $10 Million to Expand Safe Passages Program (Tribune)
  • Sun-Times Is Bankrolling Free CTA Rides for CPS Students on First Day (RedEye)
  • 15 Injured After O’Hare Shuttle Bus Driver Crashes Into Median (Sun-Times)
  • Flooding Has Put a Damper on Riverwalk Construction Work (Curbed)
  • City Study Finds Taxi Drivers Make $12.14 an Hour, Cabbies Beg to Differ (Sun-Times)
  • Open Letter to Rahm From a Cabbie: Give Us Higher Rates, Lower Fees (Chicago)
  • How Transitized Moved From Chicago to Vancouver Via Amtrak
  • Ribbon Cutting & BBQ for Loyola’s New Kenmore Promenade 5:30 P.M. Today (DNA)

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  • Deni

    I was hoping the article about the move via Amtrak was about the person moving by Amtrak, not shipping their stuff by Amtrak. I moved to Chicago from Seattle on the Empire Builder in 2000.

  • CL

    The thing about cabs is they’re already really expensive compared to the CTA. Most people don’t make enough money to justify cabs, except as a treat on a big night out. And Chicago is so huge that if you live outside the area where the CTA is feasible, you have to go a long distance which costs more. And on top of that, I feel guilty if I don’t tip really well because I keep hearing how they’re struggling.

    I think they should start by reducing fees — the article says that 40% of driver revenue goes to leasing costs. We can make this a living wage profession without trying to charge residents $50 for a one-way trip.

  • Fred

    I assume the leasing fees are directly related to the cost of doing business. You can’t just artificially lower the leasing fees below the actual cost the owners of the vehicles are incurring.

  • what_eva

    I wouldn’t say the leasing fees are directly related to the cost of doing business. More likely the owners charge as much as they possibly can.

    Our current cab system has a ton of issues. While uberx/lyft solve some (high lease fees make it hard for drivers to make money), they introduce others (insufficient/no commercial insurance, no CDL, etc).

  • Fred

    I agree. I think there is going to have to be some reckoning between the two systems that hopefully will eventually result in both being safe and reliable for customers and profitable for drivers.

  • skyrefuge

    Yeah, and surely the major “cost” for the owner is paying off the medallion. The going price for a Chicago taxicab medallion was apparently $350,000 last year. It seems unlikely that owners would be paying that much money out of their own pockets, so essentially that’s like a landlord buying a $350,000 apartment, and they then relying on the “rent” from a driver to make the “mortgage” payments. I’d imagine the “rent” that the owners charge now is enough for them to make a profit over their “mortgage” payment, but if you unilaterally lower it, there will come a point where it forces the owners into “foreclosure”.

    Of course medallion prices bubbled like they did because demand was fighting over (what they mistakenly thought was) a limited supply, but now the ride-sharers are revealing that the supply is in fact not limited. In a rational world, the market price for medallions would be plummeting now, which would lead to lower lease payment requirements from drivers, which would lead to less demand from drivers for higher fare rates. But it will take time for that to all shake out, and it’s not likely to be pretty.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/06/20/taxi-medallions-have-been-the-best-investment-in-america-for-years-now-uber-may-be-changing-that/

  • Moving via Amtrak is a little less exciting: you just bring all your boxes to the station and check them in, paying the required excess/weight fees. There was a bit of drama when I did so, because I had one boxed bike and they panicked at that I’d put a few books in one box (things get wet?), but even with some repacking all was still accomplished in <30 minutes.

  • Kid Charles

    I like how the cabbies said they are effectively making minimum wage ($8+/hour) or less, and then the city-funded study says “oh no, they’re making $12+ per hour” as if that wasn’t still a pathetic amount, especially considering they work so many hours per day. There’s a movement for $10/hour as a federal minimum wage and movements for $15/hour in certain localities, which I find completely reasonable and well past time to enact. Something needs to happen to improve the compensation for these drivers.

  • Fred

    I was in an Uber cab Friday evening coming home from dinner, and the cabbie (unsolicited) was talking about how he liked Uber because it leveled the playing field a bit among cabbies. According to him, many cab drivers do not report their cash tips on their taxes, giving them a large sum of tax free income and a monetary advantage of those that do pay their fair share of taxes. Uber eliminates the ability to evade taxes on tips.

    I’d be curious to know how tips were accounted for in the taxi income studies. I would imagine a cabbie gets several thousands dollars per year in cash tips.