Aldermen Opposed To Mayor’s Proposal To Provide Uber Airport and McCormick Place Access

In response to Mayor Emanuel’s proposal to allow services like Uber and Lyft access to the airports and McCormick Place without playing by the same rules as licensed cab drivers, members of Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Local 2500 were joined by 14 aldermen and Mara Georges from the Illinois Transportation Trade Association (ITTA) at a City Hall press conference on Monday.

Aldermen John Arena, Anthony Beale, James Cappleman, Pat Dowell, Raymond Lopez, David Moore, Ricardo Muñoz, Anthony Napolitano, Ameya Pawar, Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Ariel Reboyras, Susan Sadlowski Garza, Roderick Sawyer, Michael Scott, Debra Silverstein, Daniel Solis, Nicholas Sposato, Chris Taliaferro and Scott Waguespack have expressed strong opposition to the mayor’s plan.

“Our city depends on reliable, professional taxi service to support tourism and the convention industry. Residents with disabilities rely on taxis for their daily transportation needs.  As drivers and as small business owners, our constituents rely on the taxi industry for full-time jobs that support their families.  By giving massive corporations a free ride at the behest of hardworking Chicago cab drivers, the mayor is turning his back on his own constituents” said Alderman John Arena.

“We have all heard from our constituents about the impact they have experienced since Chicago created a separate, unequal licensing regime that allows Transportation Network Providers like Uber and Lyft to operate with virtually no public oversight and with none of the costs or safeguards that cab drivers are subject to.  In Chicago, taxi drivers report that airport and convention trips are the only reliable income keeping them afloat as they contend with a flood of thousands of lower-cost competitors who are not held to the same high-standards they must comply with” continued Alderman Arena.

“Before I received my public chauffeur license, I had to go to school and pass a law enforcement backed background check.  Every year I must pass a physical and drug test.  Twice a year my car has to pass a 70+ point inspection at a city approved garage and I pay thousands of dollars to stay in compliance with the rules and regulations that guide my profession.  When a passenger hails me, they know they’re riding with a professional who is approved by the city, the same cannot be said for Uber and Lyft” said Hilton Adolinama, a Chicago cab driver and Cab Drivers United/AFSCME Local 2500 member.

“The mayor’s proposal would effectively turn a full-time family supporting job, into one exclusively for amateur part-time drivers.  Why should I be at a disadvantage just because I play by the rules?” continued Adolinama.

“The mayor’s office put forward this plan with no data on what the impact has been on taxi service, on the quality of jobs and income in the for-hire industry or on what the impact will be on service to our residents and visitors.  We believe that we can achieve a fair and level playing field for taxis and TNPs that provides consumer choice and produces increased revenue” added Alderman Arena.

“But enacting sound, sensible regulations requires time to collect data and hear from stakeholders and must not be rushed through.  We are working to develop a counter proposal that will ensure that well-resourced corporations profiting from access to the Chicago market pay their fair share to our city while the jobs and investments of the hard-working men and women who keep our city moving are preserved and strengthened” concluded Arena.