Burke Seeks Cab Fare Surcharge To Boost Revenues

UPDATED 10/25/11 6:59 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Powerful City Council Finance Committee Chairman Edward Burke (14th) is again suggesting a cab fare surcharge to help boost city revenues.

Burke is proposing a $1 surcharge on cab rides, which he says would generate $70 million per year for the city.

The taxi overhaul proposal also includes improving safety standards, and making the city’s fleet of cabs greener.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

Currently, the base taxi fare in Chicago is $2.25, plus $1 for the first additional passenger, and a fuel surcharge of $1.

City officials also say a greater overhaul of the regulations for taxi industry is mandated.

City Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Rosemary Krimbel says the way the system works now, cab drivers have a financial incentive to drive recklessly.

Krimbel said at a budget hearing that meters click faster when a driver is moving than when standing still, so it is more profitable for a driver to change lanes frequently and drive fast, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The newspaper reports Krimbel is looking at several options for changing the fare system, including the surcharge suggested by Burke, and restructuring the meter rate.

Burke first proposed the surcharge back in November of last year when Mayor Richard M. Daley was still in office.

Under the proposal last year, cabbies — who already complain about being strangled by city regulations — would be required to collect the $1 surcharge and “remit” the money to the city’s Department of Revenue. They would be required to keep “accurate and complete books and records” on surcharge collections. Those books would be “subject to inspection” by the city.

Last year’s proposal ultimately fizzled.

But the budget last year was precariously balanced with parking meter reserves and other one-shot revenues. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s first budget, by contrast, is loaded with cuts that include the closure of three police stations, the reduction of library hours, and cuts to 510 middle or senior managers, as well as hikes in fines and fees.

Among big cities, Chicago has one of the lowest cab fares.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

  • Wolf

    Best way to grow the city is by taxing more and adding surcharges to pay for all the excessive patronage and fraud of the public sector operations in this city…great plan…maybe start a city wide sales tax increase also…their multi-millionaire pension scam needs revenue ….keep the taxation going…the end will come much sooner

  • southside

    Hey Burke, How about just stopping the ridiculous spending?

  • Just Axin

    Burke has been and always will be a piece of sh!t. Not just because of his usual attention-grabbing lame ideas, but the multiple conflicts of interest for himself and his wife, his insistence on taxpayer funded security, and much more. Can’t believe no one with $ has had the courage to run against him. Glad his kid died a few years ago.

  • Tom Smith

    Who the hell votes for this moron? Certainly nobody from this blog. Maybe if this idiot dumped the security detail that he doesn’t need, he can save some money that way.

  • LOTD

    Typical democrat attitude, tax and spend! How about surcharging every lazy, worthless city employee?? How about the alderman and these @ $$ hole council members taking a pay cut or at the very least a pay freeze?? This is EXACTLY what you can expect when this city, county and state are run by extortionized labor and democrats!!!

  • Da Coach

    Does this idiot know it is already $3.25 just to sit in the cab and you expect cab drivers to keep accurate books and records to return money to the city?!?!? This is by far the dumbest idea in history. Vote this old man out.

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