Chicago taxi industry sues to keep competition out

Hilary Gowins

VP of comms @illinoispolicy. Likes dogs and basketball.

Hilary Gowins
February 6, 2014

Chicago taxi industry sues to keep competition out

Smartphone-based taxi services such as Uber and Lyft have been invaluable for many Chicagoans during the polar vortex and its lingering aftermath. The city’s entrenched taxi industry doesn’t like that fact. They’ve filed suit against the city of Chicago, claiming that allowing the existence of these in-demand services discriminates against people without access to smartphone...

Smartphone-based taxi services such as Uber and Lyft have been invaluable for many Chicagoans during the polar vortex and its lingering aftermath.

The city’s entrenched taxi industry doesn’t like that fact.

They’ve filed suit against the city of Chicago, claiming that allowing the existence of these in-demand services discriminates against people without access to smartphone technology. According to the Chicago Tribune, the lawsuit alleges that:

“… by failing to regulate commercial ride-sharing services, the city has allowed for discrimination against customers who are disabled, those who don’t have smart phones or credit cards, and those who live in less affluent parts of the city.

“’This lawsuit is about whether low-income areas of the city, and people with disabilities, are going to be left without taxi services,’ Michael Shakman, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said at a morning news conference. ‘Unfortunately, the Emanuel administration has tolerated an unlawful taxi caste system created by Uber, Lyft and Sidecar.’

“Those companies aren’t required to purchase the expensive taxi medallions that are required of traditional taxi companies. Also unlike traditional companies, they are not required to serve all parts of the city, they can set their own fares, and they are available only to customers who have smart phones and credit cards.”

Shakman referred to these cab services as elitist, citing the companies’ ability to do their business according to their own wishes.

If these pleas for greater regulation move forward, consumers will be the ones who lose.

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