Declining Chicago taxi business banking on ride-share limits
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago’s declining taxi industry is hoping for some legislative help as it struggles to survive in the age of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft.
Almost half the city’s nearly 7,000 licensed cabs are in foreclosure or idled, leading to a call for regulatory intervention to keep taxi fleets working, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Things are getting worse every day,” said Adrian Tudor, owner of Taxi Town on Chicago’s far North Side. “It’s very difficult. I’m surprised we’re still alive.”
One idea is to cap the number of ride-sharing licenses in Chicago, which currently has nearly 66,000 active ride-share drivers. A similar move occurred in New York City last month in which the city approved placing a one-year moratorium on new ride-share licenses.
Tudor said such a decision would help Chicago taxis compete with ride-share drivers, particular on weekends when Uber and Lyft take over the city looking for fares.
Aldermen Anthony Beale and Edward Burke have said they’re considering such a proposal, which could help taxis compete with ride-share drivers, particularly on weekends. But city officials have no plans to cap ride-sharing services right now, said Rosa Escareno, commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which regulates taxis and ride-shares industries.
“It’s the consumers that are making the choice and the consumers that are driving the type of service that they need and demand,” Escareno said. “We have to listen to that. It was the consumers that drove the change that is here today.”
Uber and Lyft are hoping Chicago doesn’t follow New York City’s ride-share caps.
“It’s artificial, and it’s unnecessary,” said Lyft spokeswoman Campbell Matthews. “Wait times would really increase for people who need these rides, who’ve come to rely on them. Prices would increase and (drivers) wouldn’t be able to sign up to earn.”
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com