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Everything You Need To Know About Rahm's Taxi, Uber And Rideshare Proposals

By Kate Shepherd in News on Sep 23, 2015 9:36PM

Image Credit: Mike Brown

Riding in a cab, Uber or Lyft car feels so much more freeing than taking the CTA. But if Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed city budget is passed by the City Council, taxis and ride-hailing services will cost Chicagoans more. And that money won't exactly help the cab or ride-sharing services, either.

The budget includes a host of fees and surcharges for cabs and ride-hailing apps—and a promise to allow ride-sharing services to pickup riders from the airports for the first time. We've broken down what they all really mean:

1. The Uber, Lyft and other ride-sharing service fees: The existing city tax on ride-hailing services such as Uber and Lyft rides will increase from 30 cents to 50 cents. The city will also charge a $5 fee on Uber and Lyft pick-ups and drop-offs from O'Hare, Midway, Navy Pier and McCormick Place. Right now, rideshare services aren't supposed to pick up customers from the airports at all.

2. The cab fees: The new Uber and Lyft fees won't give cabs an advantage over their biggest competition because Emanuel wants to add increase cab fares and surcharges too. He's asking for a 15 percent fee increase and a fee of 50 cents per ride.

There's a lot of competition between ride-sharing services and taxis but this isn't necessarily good news for any of them. At the moment, cabs have little competition at the airports and McCormick Place because Uber and Lyft were prohibited from picking passengers up there. But in the future they'll have to deal with it. The fare increase is controversial too.

"It doesn't benefit cabdrivers," taxi driver Sylvester Aye told the Tribune. "Usually when the city increases the fare, (the cab company) automatically increases the price of the lease. Half of the time, the city overlooks what they are doing. They take advantage of the drivers."

Uber's increased popularity has definitely hurt the cab industry in Chicago and other major cities. And it's easy to assume that authorization to pick up riders at the airports would be a boon for Uber drivers, who already frequently drop riders off at the airport but don't get a return fare. But UberX James Tucker told the Tribune that the new fee will actually be a deterrent.

"If you're going to have the taxi drivers sitting out there and then a ton of Uber drivers out there as well, the traffic will be even worse," he said. "Let's say I'm going to pick someone up from the airport and go to one of the hotels right outside the airport. Well, that $5 I just paid to pick that person up probably got taken right back. I would pretty much pay for that myself."