Taxi, limo, ride-hailing drivers call on Lightfoot to cap rideshare vehicles

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Drivers for ride-hailing services like Lyft and Uber are joining with drivers for taxi and limousine companies to call for a limit on ride-hailing services in Chicago. | Associated Press

Drivers for ride-hailing, taxi and limo services are calling on Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot to enact a series of regulations on the city’s ride-hailing industry.

They want a cap on the number of ride-hailing vehicles allowed to operate in Chicago, a ban on those vehicles from out-of-state and rules to hold ride-hailing companies accountable to a wage standard.

Leaders from Chicago Rideshare Advocates, Cab Drivers United AFSCME Local 2500 and Blackcar Drivers United are hammering on their message after a new batch of leaders were elevated to the City Council and the mayor’s office.

They said measures enacted by New York City could serve as a road map for Chicago.

Last August, New York enacted a one-year moratorium on new ride-hailing licenses while industry studies play out.

The groups also want Chicago to mimic a minimum pay requirement for ride-hailing drivers that kicked in this year in New York.

Lightfoot did not return a message Thursday. She told the Sun-Times in February, citing congestion issues, that she favors strict new limits on the number of ride-hailing vehicles in Chicago.

“We’re becoming Los Angeles or Atlanta or Dallas. There’s no rush hour anymore. It’s perpetual. … We have tens of thousands of new cars on the roads … because of ride-share. They’re … [driven by] people who don’t even live in Chicago. In many instances, people don’t even live in Illinois,” Lightfoot said.

A statement issued by Chicago Rideshare Advocates said: “Drivers of all types — taxi, rideshare and limo — are calling for a fair, safe, transparent system of regulation that works for everyone — not just wealthy investors in Uber and Lyft.”

Nnamdi Uwazie, head of Cab Drivers United, said it’s become clear the different groups of drivers must speak with one voice whenever possible.

“It’s about coming together as a formidable force to shine a light on the transportation industry and people who need to make a living,” Uwazie said.

To drive home the point, a procession of taxis, ride-hailing vehicles and limos — with messages written and taped to their windows — planned to drive Thursday evening from a forest preserve near O’Hare International Airport to several of the parking lots designated for drivers to wait between airport pickups.

Statements issued by spokeswomen for Uber and Lyft — the two largest ride-hailing companies in Chicago — both pointed to the fact that tips are now available in each of their apps to increase driver pay but did not address the specific concerns being put forth by demonstrators.

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