How to stop Chicago from ruining Uber and Lyft

Jacob Huebert

Senior Attorney at Liberty Justice Center, author of Libertarianism Today.

Jacob Huebert
February 18, 2014

How to stop Chicago from ruining Uber and Lyft

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed an ordinance that would force the popular ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft to drastically change the way they do business, if not shut down operations in the city entirely. The proposal contains numerous unnecessary provisions that would harm Uber and Lyft drivers as well as consumers and serve no...

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed an ordinance that would force the popular ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft to drastically change the way they do business, if not shut down operations in the city entirely.

The proposal contains numerous unnecessary provisions that would harm Uber and Lyft drivers as well as consumers and serve no apparent purpose except to benefit politically influential taxi medallion owners at everyone else’s expense. To recap, the proposed ordinance would, among other things:

  1. Prohibit Uber and Lyft cars from rationally charging customers based on time and distance, as they do now and as taxis do.
  1. Prevent you from using Uber to hail a traditional taxi, as you can now.
  1. Prohibit you from using Uber or Lyft to get to the airport, as you can now.
  1. Allow the city to GPS-track all ride-sharing vehicles at all times, in violation of Fourth Amendment privacy rights.
  1. Prohibit Uber, Lyft and future ridesharing services from putting advertisements in or on their cars as a way to lower prices, in violation of the First Amendment.
  1. Prohibit ridesharing companies from owning cars in their network or helping drivers buy them.
  1. Force Uber black cars to have an “emblem,” ruining their cool, classic look.

If you want to stop the City Council from ruining ride-sharing in Chicago, please let your alderman know that you want Uber and Lyft to keep serving consumers as they have been. If you live in Chicago, use this tool to find out who your alderman is, and use this list to find his or her email address.

You can also write to members of the City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection, which will hold the first vote on the proposed ordinance. Click on their names below to send them email:

Chair: Emma Mitts, 37th Ward

Vice Chair: Joann Thompson, 16th Ward

John Arena, 45th Ward

James Cappleman, 46th Ward

George Cardenas, 12th Ward

Michael Chandler, 24th Ward

Willie Cochran, 20th Ward

Bob Fioretti, 2nd Ward

Deborah Graham, 29th Ward

Proco Joe Moreno, 1st Ward

Mary O’Connor, 41st Ward

Matthew O’Shea, 19th Ward

Ariel Reboyras, 30th Ward

Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward

Debra Silverstein, 50th Ward

Nicholas Sposato, 36th Ward

Thomas Tunney, 44th Ward

(13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn is also on the committee but has no email address. You can call his office at 773-581-8000.)

The committee’s next meeting is at City Hall at 11 a.m. Feb. 26, so it’s important to act now.

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