Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, may impose a $1 surcharge on every trip via Uber. That is if the mayor listens to an alderman who first proposed a surcharge on Uber rides. It wouldn’t be just Uber either, as there would be a surcharge on every trip via other ride-share companies, according to Forbes.
The idea was first proposed by alderman Edward Burke. If the surcharge on Uber and other ride-sharing companies went into effect, then millions of dollars could end up being raised. The fee may not just affect Uber, as it could be applied to regular taxicabs. The surcharge on Uber rides would compliment others laws regarding ride-sharing. The mayor advanced such laws back in 2014, and these laws included caps on surge pricing, which Uber uses from time to time, and a $1 million auto liability coverage requirement for Uber drivers. Another law prohibits Uber drivers and other ride-sharing companies from picking people up at airports, as this cuts into the profits of taxi companies.
Uber has not been quiet on this and said that a surcharge fee would hurt its service in Chicago. Uber also said that this year it will contribute around $7 million in taxes and fees, and more than 20,000 people drive for Uber in Chicago.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Brooke Anderson, a spokesperson for Uber, said that the proposed surcharge on Uber rides would slow economic growth in the city. Anderson continued to say that money would be taken out of drivers’ pockets, which would come at a time when jobs and growth are needed the most.
Chicago aldermen believe that more regulation of the industry would level the playing field for taxicab drivers that struggle to make money. The surcharge on Uber rides and the like would be part of a broader package that is aimed at saving the taxicab industry in Chicago.
South Side Ald. Pat Dowell said that the City Council has to do something because there is a problem, and it threatens the existence of the taxicab industry. She added that companies like Uber conduct their own background checks on its drivers and they don’t have the same training and oversight that taxicab drivers have to submit before they can get behind the wheel and transport passengers.
Dowell said that they don’t even know if Uber drivers and drivers of other ride-sharing companies have proper insurance or if they even passed the background checks. She added that maybe the city should modify the ride-share ordinance in order to address some of the existing problems.
The ride-hailing ordinance, which was approved last year, doesn’t restrict the number of Uber drivers that can operate on the streets of Chicago, nor does it restrict the number of companies that can operate in the city.
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