Chicago Ald. Brendan Reilly has introduced a new city ordinance that would cap “surge pricing” fees, charged by rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft during times where demand is higher than usual.
According to Reilly’s office, the companies have been “emboldened to gouge customers” because of a lack of competition from taxis, and the alderman says that the pricing has “gotten out of control.”
“Every day I receive complaints about the exorbitant prices Uber and Lyft are charging their passengers for relatively short trips that used to only cost a few dollars,” Reilly said in a statement. “I hear from women working late hours in the hospitality industry, who can no longer afford a safe car trip home from work late at night. Instead, they are forced to risk their personal safety using the CTA system. That wasn’t a problem before the obliteration of the taxi cab industry.”
The proposed bill would cap surge pricing to no more than 150% of a normal fare charged by a rideshare company. Reilly provided an example of a $10 ride on a normal night, which would only be allowed to cost $15 during surge pricing instances.
Companies that violate that cap would face fines of $100 for each violation.
“That surge pricing isn’t just exorbitant. It is blatantly predatory,” Reilly said.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office did not respond to questions about whether she would support such a cap.