Uber, Lyft Would Get Airport Access Under New Compromise

By Kate Shepherd in News on Oct 27, 2015 4:00PM

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A yellow cab (Photo by Elena Kovalevich via the Chicagoist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

The city has reached a compromise on thebattle between licensed taxis and Uber. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft would be charged an extra 2 cents per ride with the money going to lower some costs for traditional cabdrivers under a new amendment, according to the Tribune.

The City Council Finance Committee approved the proposal on Monday following hours of closed-door negotiations between Emanuel administration aides and aldermen who wanted tougher rules to regulate the ride-share industry amid the mayor's fare hike proposal.

The administration has been negotiating to get as many "yes" votes as possible for Wednesday's City Council vote on Emanuel's proposed 2016 budget with a massive property tax hike.

The budget will allow ride-share drivers access to the airports, Navy Pier and McCormick Place and taxi industry advocates argue that Uber and Lyft drivers should have to apply for chauffeur licenses, like cabbies do, in order to service the airports. Under the new amendment, the drivers must register with the city and pay $5 each time they make a pick-up or face fines of up to $1,000, according to NBC.

As a concession, ride-sharing services will be charged an additional 52 cents per ride, up from the original 30 cents. There's the 2-cent charge, 10 cents for the city and 10 cents to make more taxis wheelchair-accessible.

Despite the changes, cab drivers still don't think it does enough to level the playing field between themselves and services like Uber.

"It's wrong to let big companies carve their own loopholes in laws that require licenses, training, background checks and other basic consumer protections, but that's exactly what's happening here," Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Local 2500 said in a statement Monday. "It's dangerous, putting public safety at risk. It's unjust, allowing hugely profitable corporations to pocket millions of dollars that should support city services."

It's going to be a long road to compromise between ride-sharing companies and taxis and supporters say this is a step in the right direction.

"I would not say [it's] a total compromise, but it is a huge, huge step in the right direction to bringing parity to these two industries trying to coexist" Ald. Anthony Beale told NBC.