CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago City Council hearing is pitting traditional taxi cab companies against unregulated shared ride services that passengers summon through smart-phone apps.
Former Chicago corporation counsel Mara Georges represented the traditional taxi industry before the City Council committees and labeled share-ride taxi services as illegal, elitist and dangerous.
“These unregulated transportation providers allow private individuals who have no special licenses, who have no special training, to drive their personal vehicles, vehicles that have not been inspected by the city,” said Georges.
As she spoke, Mike Kasper — the current mayor’s personal attorney, now lobbying for the upstart Uber — was huddling with one alderman after another.
At stake is the lucrative taxicab business in Chicago, the well-marked cabs being challenged by unmarked ride sharing firms such as UberX, Sidecar and the distinctively decorated Lyft. They are ordinary cars driven by ordinary people, which are being more and more popular.
First Ward Alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno is a supporter of shared-ride taxi services. But he agrees the City should have regulations for them.
“We are proposing stronger insurance policies through the company for this service,” said Moreno. “We are not saying lack of regulations are moving forward, we want some common sense regulations and I would support those.”
Ward 14 Ald. Edward Burke tells CBS 2’s Jay Levine he’s not trying to kill the new industry, just trying to spur discussion.
“This is designed to get people off the dime and do something; it’s just gone on too long,” he says.
The proposed ordinance the mayor introduced two weeks ago is apparently not a done deal. The head of City Council’s Transportation Committee is delaying a vote while city officials rethink the self-regulations they’ve proposed.