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Ride-sharing crackdown advances in House

SPRINGFIELD—A legislative push driven by the taxicab industry to impose statewide regulations on ride-sharing competitors like Uber, Lyft and SideCar cleared a hurdle Wednesday in the House.

Legislation clamping down on businesses coordinating rides for people through smart phone apps passed 9-2 in the House Business & Occupational Licenses Committee and now moves to the House floor.

“The taxi industry has had concerns for two years about UberX, Lyft and SideCar,” said Mara Georges, who testified for the legislation on behalf of the Illinois Trade Transportation Association, which is made up by more than 6,000 taxicab owners. “The people in the state of Illinois deserve protection.”

Georges said the legislation proposed by Rep. Michael Zalewski, D-Riverside, would give that protection by setting up common-sense rules for ride-sharing firms.

House Bill 4075 requires these companies to use drivers with state chauffeur licenses; mark their cars; have commercial insurance in case of accidents; limit the price increases that occur during peak times; limit on-call hours to ensure drivers had enough sleep; and comply with local service standards, including service to low-income areas.

But Rep. Tom Morrison, R-Palatine, said those steps contained in Zalewski’s legislation limited new upstart competitors to the taxicab industry too severely.

“I voted against this bill because it unfairly locks out competing companies and limits choices for consumers,” Morrison said. Candice Taylor, a Lyft representative who testified before the committee, said the bill’s “burdensome” requirements would mean “the end of companies like Lyft and Uber in Illinois.”