Instead of whacking Uber, Evanston looks to lift burden on taxis
The city of Evanston offers a path forward for governments to level the playing field between traditional taxis and ridesharing.
As Chicago seeks to place new restrictions on ridesharing platforms such as Uber and Lyft in the name of fairness for traditional taxi drivers, Evanston, Ill., is showing how governments can truly level the playing field: by getting out of the way.
Responding to the struggles of local cab drivers, Evanston officials are not seeking to shackle rideshare drivers with outdated licensing requirements, but rather are looking to reform the system under which taxi drivers currently struggle.
The city is looking to axe its taxi-licensing requirement and remove all city fees and payments related to taxi medallions, city lawyer Grant Farrar told the Evanston Review.
The changes could consolidate 18 pages of city taxi regulations down to three or four pages.
“My preference would be to completely de-regulate municipally,” Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, told the Review, “and to simply have the companies and Uber and Lyft operate under state statute.”
Chicago City Council should take Rainey’s words to heart.
Instead of helping all drivers flourish, city politicians have been hell-bent on passing onerous rules for ridesharing services and traditional taxis alike.
After months of heated debate, the city is seeking to require rideshare drivers, who already undergo company-required background checks, to acquire a chauffeur’s license and submit to city-overseen vehicle inspections. A proposal to require fingerprinting of rideshare drivers and a disabled-accessible vehicle mandate have both been put on hold for at least six months.
Meanwhile, high fees, a byzantine fare structure and a broken medallion system are crushing Chicago’s cab drivers.
Evanston’s willingness to look inward in promoting fairness for taxi drivers is refreshing. And given the city’s recent deregulation of food trucks, it’s looking more and more like an oasis for Chicago entrepreneurs struggling to succeed.