Cabbies Forgo Fares in Protest of Ride-Sharing Services

From 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday, drivers represented by the United Taxidrivers Community Council drove around but didn't pickup passengers

A group of Chicago cab drivers circled around City Hall on Tuesday morning but didn't pick up passengers in a protest against ride-share services like Uber.

A union representing cab drivers said there needs to be a level playing field when it comes to Uber, the rules that service follows, and the regulations for which cab drivers are forced to pay.

From 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesday, drivers represented by The United Taxidrivers Community Council were on the roads but didn't pickup fares. A union spokesperson claimed Uber has 13,000 drivers which siphon two million rides per month away from traditional cab service.

"If we have four more years of this, without a change in policy, I don't think the taxi industry is going to survive," said union spokesman Peter Ali Enger.

The city recently agreed to license Uber, but only after the company signed off on new, strict security measures to protect riders, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. Some of those measures include cooperating with police during investigations or complaints against drivers, conducting monthly audits to monitor safety and quality issues, and alerting City Hall when drivers are deactivated for criminal charges.

All of the candidates running for mayor were invited to a late morning press conference, but only Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and a representative from Ald. Bob Fioretti's campaign were in attendance.

"Licensing requirements, .. as it pertains to the requirement that they have to meet, versus what the influx of the great number of Uber drivers, is not fair because they are not identical," said Garcia, who currently represents the 7th District in the Cook County Board of Commissioners.

Amara Enyia, from Fioretti's campaign, called the taxi industry the "lifeblood" of the city and said the changes the taxi drivers want are simply about equity and fairness.

Another taxi union will hold a second protest on Wednesday.

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