Today’s Headlines

  • Aldermen Spar Over Regulating Ride-Share Companies (DNA)
  • Bike Boxes and Bumpouts Are Part of the Final Children’s Memorial Plans (BWLP)
  • Even Blue Line During Construction Delays, a Ride From O’Hare Will Still Cost $5 (RedEye)
  • Man Accused of Causing Fatal Crash While High on Coke Gets $1 Million Bail (Sun-Times)
  • Woman Injured in IL 394 Crash Near Glenwood (Southtown)
  • Proposed SW Suburban Road Upgrades Include Multiuse Sidepath (Sun-Times)
  • Local Zoning Laws Forbid Dense Housing Just About Everywhere (Crain’s)
  • Underpass Planned for Route 14 in Barrington (Herald)
  • Local Cyclists Use Helmet Cams to Document Their Commutes (Tribune)

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  • Carl’s Jr.

    Why shouldn’t a ride from O’Hare still cost $5? Even at $5, the user is still not realizing the full costs of the CTA and is having their ride being subsidized by the taxpayer.

  • Anne A

    Adding a sidepath along Ridgeland through several SW ‘burbs could be huge if they do it right. There’s a LOT of demand for folks to reach Palos and other SW suburban trails more easily by bike. Getting there without risking your life is probably a more accurate way of putting it. It could be a win-win – better for cyclists and better for businesses selling food and drinks along the route where cyclists could stop along the way.

  • JKM13

    I’ll buy that as soon as we triple the gas tax so driving is not subsidized by the taxpayer as well.

  • forensicgarlic

    So the main ‘innovation’ that uber and lyft have is apps and easy credit card payment? I guess uber’s high demand pricing is an innovation too, but I’m not sure it’s a thing people would be pleased to get. I’m not clear why people love these companies so much. Where are people finding they can’t hail a cab, but a lyft driver quickly shows up? And I must be very lucky since I’ve never had a problem paying by credit in a taxi.

  • duppie

    I have not used them, and I doubt I will, but I do like them for the disruptive approach to the current business model. Whether is Redbox, Netflix, Nest, i-Go, or Uber, they all gave the established players a
    kick in the assets and put them on notice that the current entrenched business model is no longer free from competition.

  • Mishellie

    Logan Square. If I needed a cab I’d have to call one, and calling the company never goes well. And yes you are lucky. I’ve ridden in about 20 cabs over my entire life and had drivers grumble about my card on a regular basis, or even have to use an old school card impressor thing because they don’t have a functioning computer. In other cities it’s even worse.

  • Shlabotnik

    The discussion so far has been very much about how the taxi drivers play by a certain set of rules and along comes Uber which essentially provides the same service but does not have to play by the same rules. I wish the discussion was less about whether Uber should be regulated like taxis and more about taxi policy in general and the fact that it’s the whole medallion policy that probably needs to change. But I haven’t heard anything to that effect.

  • cjlane

    “Woman Injured in I-394 Crash Near Glencoe”

    Glenwood, not Glencoe. And IL 394, not I-394, as it’s a state hwy, not an interstate.

  • BlueFairlane

    I haven’t seen the sense in charging somebody $5 to hop on CTA at O’Hare since they started doing it. I think it’s dumb. That said, I don’t know why Blue Line construction should alter the price anybody pays.

  • alexfrancisburchard

    Well, its a good start towards going to a much more logical distance based fare system.

  • There’s a surcharge on every dollar that touches the airports, whether it’s for airline tickets, CTA, parking, magazines, rental cars, beer, buses, taxis, or tacos. It’s the full cost of the airport they’re recapturing, not that of the individual goods. How efficiently they’re doing it is another question.

  • rohmen

    Well, the one valid point the Taxi drivers have is that by law they are required to serve all neighborhoods in the City (I know the reality doesn’t always match up).

    While uber and lyft may claim they are willing to serve all areas of the city, by not having to obtain a medallion, they are not bound by any similar law specifically requiring them to do so. Not defending the medallion system per se, but there are passenger rights built into the medallion and chauffeur licence system that uber and lyft are not required to abide by since they are currently allowed to operate unlicensed.

    Taxi companies raise a valid point at a minimum.

  • rohmen

    I would agree the difference between uber and a taxi in Chicago is largely convenience and quality of experience, especially considering in several neighborhoods hailing a cab is extremely easy, but in cities like San Francisco, where cabs are pretty infrequent despite low-levels of car ownership, uber and lyft are definitely filling a pretty large gap in services.

    I was just in SF a few weeks ago, and the people I know there use uberx quite a bit. Almost all of the times we had to request an uberx ride in SF, I never saw a cab drive by that we could have hailed instead.

  • Mishellie

    Maybe— but I frequently have my guests take the CTA to Rosemont, where i pick them up. Not everyone is going directly into the loop…

  • CL

    The purpose is to soak tourists, which I fully support. But I agree that the price should not change depending on construction — it was nice that they provided free service on the south side, but it’s okay if tourists have to pay $5 for a crappy experience because they’ll be leaving soon anyway — so their ill will toward the CTA shouldn’t affect revenue.

  • BlueFairlane

    I don’t really buy that a distance-based fare system is more logical. To me, it’s a question of what your goal is with public transit. I think that people are more likely to use transit when they know exactly what they’re going to pay. Nobody wants to do math or try to calculate how far one stop is from another. I have no idea what I’m going to pay when I go to Washington DC, for instance. This makes me less likely to use transit, as I don’t want to put a lot of money in a machine that might be wasted. One-price transit, on the other hand, does a good job of equalizing distance, and is one of the benefits of using transit to begin with.

  • BlueFairlane

    This implies that locals don’t fly in or out of O’Hare … or that when they do, they won’t use transit. I don’t know that this is the message the typical reader of this site wants to support.

  • Anne A

    Taxi drivers … by law they are required to serve all
    neighborhoods in the City (I know the reality doesn’t always match up).

    The reality definitely does not match up. Many neighborhoods are still underserved in spite of the law. Some folks I know in those underserved ‘hoods have much better service from Uber and Lyft than they’ve ever gotten with traditional taxis. They arrange for a ride, that that ride actually comes.

  • Jason Bourne

    Every other major city charges extra for public transport from an airport. It is not unusual and certainly not dumb.

  • rohmen

    Like I said, I know the reality doesn’t match up with the law. That said, the idea behind requiring a medallion is to ensure those type laws are followed. The fact that they are not is simply a reflection of a lack of will to pursue (or more likely a powerful lobby pushing against) enforcement.

    To me, the real concern at play here between taxis and uberx is the insurance issue. A medallioned cab is required to have proper (and expensive) commercial insurance covering the vehicle at all times while it is in operation, while uberx and lyft drivers are currently operating in a fairly murky insurance coverage-gap situation.

  • BlueFairlane

    A thing need not be unusual to be dumb.

    I suppose if your goal is to get all those tourists off CTA and into the taxis clogging the Kennedy, then it’s not dumb.

  • Matt F

    so a $2 blue line ticket used to get me home to Wicker Park vs a $35 cab ride (at 10pm, no traffic).

    But by your logic, now that a cta pass is $5 I’m just going to go take a $35 cab instead.

    not sure I agree…

  • Matt F

    agree. exit fares are crap.

  • BlueFairlane

    Do that math, imagining you were traveling as part of a family of four or five, or if you were part of a group of business people here together for a convention. I’m sure the extra price isn’t much of a deterrent to solo travelers, but once you start adding fares it doesn’t take long before the cab becomes much more appealing.

  • Matt F

    5 family members x $5 fare = $25 < $35 taxi ride.

    Do I need to do the math for 4 or did I make my point?

  • Jared Kachelmeyer

    I only fly out of Midway so no surcharge there and since the station is used by locals too as a bus terminal I don’t see them ever adding a surcharge. Shorter train ride too (at least to downtown).

  • Matt F

    praise this man ^

  • Matt F

    did someone just define innovation?

  • BlueFairlane

    That’s true … a mere $10 difference between loading all your crap on the CTA and trying to find someplace to wedge yourself among the crowds while keeping track of the kids and trying to figure out where exactly you get off versus the much more comfortable car where the driver just takes you where you want to go and you don’t have to think about it. A parent looks at that and thinks 10 more dollars when you’re already paying $25 is well worth it.

    No, you did not make your point.

  • Yes, I agree! This is what I’ve been tweeting to the aldermen who are active on Twitter and asked their followers about the policy (which was debated at a committee meeting yesterday). Here’s one conversation:

  • Does the regulation actually require a taxi service to come to your neighborhood, or just deliver you to your neighborhood?

  • Lizzyisi

    Two things incredibly difficult about the Washington DC Metro system when I lived there: no trains after midnight; exit fares.

    The turnstiles to exit were always even more congested than the ones to enter, as people fumbled for their cards or discovered they did not have enough fare on their cards to exist. I imagine the latter is less of a problem when you are using a smartcard system than when you’re using purchase-as-you-go paper tickets, but it’s one of the things I always hated about DC’s Metro.

    Exit fares are also more complicated for tourists and other casual users, which discourages use of the transit system when we should be making it easier and more attractive to use transit for everyone.

  • rohmen

    My understanding has always been that a taxi driver cannot legally (and again I understand the reality) refuse to drive you anywhere within the city.

    My understanding is that a taxi driver is also required to accept a certain amount of calls per shift to “undeserved” areas, which last time I looked into it was I believe set at 2 calls a shift.

    EDIT: actually, it might be as low as one call per shift, unless it went up:

  • alexfrancisburchard

    So go to POP, like the west coast does. Then lose the expense of maintaining station agents and turnstiles (employ just fare inspectors at a lower cost, and maintain a few tap pads at each station)

  • Matt F

    your hypothetical is moot. its 10PM, not rush hour. at 10pm (necessary for the $35 cab ride) the trains are empty and there is no traffic on the kennedy. At rush hour a cab to wicker park is far more than $35. and you can add fare surcharges for 4 more people, a $25 cta ride is far cheaper than a rush hour cab.

    Bottom line is that a cab is almost always more expensive than the CTA, whether the CTA charges $2 or $5. It’s an inelastic market, and that’s why they can raise prices.

    If you want convenience (and I do at 10PM after a long flight) I’ll pay $35 for a cab home. regardless of the CTA fare.

  • Katja

    Where in LS are you? I live on a reasonably difficult-to-access-via-car part of one of the boulevards. I always walk to the nearest major street (Armitage) and have not yet had a problem getting a cab.

  • Alex_H

    For a time, wasn’t the Chicago Card Plus exempted from the O’Hare fare hike? That made some degree of sense.

  • Shlabotnik

    I’m glad to hear that you are having this conversation, or trying to have it. Taxis have always played an important role in moving people around the urban core and all signs seem to point to a not too distant future where they even play a more visible and important role. Sooner or later there is going to have to be a serious discussion about taxi policy:

  • duppie

    Yes. But that innovation would not happen if it was up to the established players. You sometimes need a new player to come in to jumpstart innovation.

  • ohsweetnothing

    Around the Boulevards isn’t too hard. Go west and cabs get scarce quick. Logan Square goes all the way out to Pulaski.

  • David Altenburg

    I live at Kedzie and Bloomingdale. Perhaps it’s better than it was two years ago. I wouldn’t know because that is the last time I tried to get a cab here. They just would not come. Trying to hail one on the street was futile because there were so few, and often, those that had their lights on would not stop. I’ve never had a problem getting Uber to show up, so that’s what I use now.

    The situation may now be better. I’ve certainly noticed far more cabs since Scofflaw opened. Plus I think the Kedzie bike lanes may be attracting them like moths to a streetlamp, given the number I see standing in the bike lane. However, even if the situation is improved in the more gentrified parts of Logan Square, that doesn’t change the fact that taxis do a terrible job serving most neighborhoods in the city.

  • Brian Sheehan

    This sidepath along Ridgeland would be a great start, but one of the things that I think holds back easier bike/ped access in this part of the Chicago area is the abundance of railroads running through the area and the rarity of crossings that exist across them for any mode of transportation.

    Case in point, the two railroads that cross Ridgeland near 103rd Street, as well as the nearby SW Hwy overpass. Other than the crossing at 107th/Oak Park, the nearest crossings, be they at-grade or grade separated, are at least a mile away.

    There’s some possibly low-hanging fruit to fix this problem at 99th/Mayfield, 105th/Austin, 98th/Sayre, and 107th just west of Richards High School. Either in the form of bike/ped bridges, or just small bike/ped tunnels under the tracks. Or simple, low-maintenance grade crossings allowing only bike/ped traffic if the railroads will allow for it.

  • ohsweetnothing

    If that Crain’s article is accurate, then wow. That’s a doozy. Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised…but I am.

  • Katja

    Welp, if you ever need one emergency-style (I don’t know what a cab emergency would be, but work with me here) and your phone is out of battery life, try Armitage. It’s usually OK for cabs nowadays.

  • Katja

    Fair enough. One of my few uses of Uber was visiting a friend in Logan (when I lived in Humboldt Park) who lives at Shakespeare and Lawndale.

  • Jim Mitchell

    An example of a “cab emergency” would be needing to get to the hospital and (a) not owning a car, (b) not having a credit card/bank account and smart phone to utilize Uber, and (c) not having health insurance to pay for an ambulance. Lots and lots of folks in Chicago fall into this category.