Chicago postpones regulations on ride-sharing services for six months . . .
By Kai EL’ Zabar
The introduction of ride-sharing companies has created a pandemonium of debate charged with controversy in many cities around the world. The argument brews over regulation of ride-sharing services primarily aimed at Uber and Lyft continues. However Wednesday’s showdown at Chicago’s City Hall met with the city council voting down a measure that would’ve required fingerprint background checks for drivers and maintain a certain number of vehicles that accommodate handicapped passengers.
Uber had made it clear that fingerprinting would not enhance or improve their vetting process yet would most likely cause them to stop offering rides in the city. After an outpouring of public disapproval of the possibility of no Uber or Lyft, the council weighed heavily in favor of the regulation decided to study fingerprints for six months before revisiting possible regulations.
The ordinance proposed by Alderman Anthony Beale requires that services for handicap passengers be made a available, that drivers be required to have a chauffeur license, and that fingerprinting be required, as well as child support be paid up before hired.
So many have found financial refuge in Uber and Lyft affording them the opportunity to manage their bills.
“It seems so unjust to prevent people from making an honest living,” according to John, an Uber driver. It makes more sense to let people drive, be able to work and pay off their debts.”
That’s the general consensus among drivers and riders of Uber and Lyft.
However Alderman Beale told the Chicago Defender, that he proposed the ordinance because, “I am concerned about public safety.”
The council indicated that ride-share companies have a year to begin to offer handicapped passengers, services. The ordinance require drivers to obtain a chauffeur’s license, which can be done online. In contrast Cab drivers must attend class in person to gain the required credentials and those courses are more expensive. The failed measure would’ve also required up-front drug testing and a physical exam, but instead the city’s license commissioner will only require those for drivers when a complaint is filed.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel joins millions of Chicagoans in favoring ride-sharing services in the city despite vocal opposition over fair competition and unfair regulations.
Emanuel said that the likes of Uber and Lyft employ 90,000 registered drivers and offer people in Chicago more transportation choices, especially in underserved neighborhoods. Chicago approved a package from taxi unions in 2014 that, among other things, allowed for cabs to have their own app for hailing a ride. The discussion over the services is far from over in the city, especially with the taxi industry’s stance that the new rules do too little to even the playing field.