City Council Approves Mayor's Taxi Reforms

The City Council on Wednesday quietly passed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's taxi reforms that include new safety features and a cab fuel surcharge.

The changes mean riders will now pay a $3.25 fee for getting into a Chicago cab instead of the current $2.25. The extra dollar is a surcharge riders technically already pay, Emanuel said, though this ordinance adds it at the beginning of the ride.

"That dollar exists today," Emanuel said. "We're finally telling the truth. We were honest with people."

Other changes approved Wednesday include new limits on the age of cabs and the amount of miles a taxi can have. Higher lease rates also will be phased in to incentivize fuel-efficient cars, wheelchair-accessible vehicles and a modernized, updated fleet.

Cabs will be required to have credit card machines and GPS, and real-time access to Secretary of State's moving violations database will be made available to take dangerous drivers off the street. 

Cabbies have proposed changes of their own
, including a $1.50 convenience fee for passengers using credit cards and $75 to clean up behind riders who vomit in their vehicles. The proposal was not yet up for council vote.

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