Rahm Emanuel

Mayor Says Rideshare Services Will Get Airport Access by Thanksgiving

Anyone traveling to or from Chicago for Thanksgiving will finally be able to utilize rideshare services for drop-offs or pick-ups, according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The mayor's office announced the release of new regulations Tuesday that will allow drivers for rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft to pick up passengers at O'Hare and Midway international airports before the holiday.

The new rules are part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget package, which Chicago's City Council passed last week. Just 48 hours before the vote, Emanuel amended the budget to charge rideshare drivers an additional 2 cents per ride to help cut the registration costs for traditional cab drivers in exchange for allowing rideshare drivers access to airports.

Before they begin airport drop-offs and pick-ups, rideshare drivers must register with the city, and they will have to pay $5 each time they go to the airport.

Emanuel has been a proponent of rideshare companies in Chicago, but members of the Cab Drivers United union and many aldermen in City Council opposed plans to allow airport access. The added 2-cent fee was a concession on the mayor's behalf in order to gain enough "yes" votes in the meeting last week to pass his historic budget plan.

Rideshare drivers will only be allowed access to certain parts of O'Hare and Midway airports to drop off and pick up drivers. At O'Hare, they can pick passengers up on the upper level of the domestic concourse between Terminals 1 and 2 and between Terminals 2 and 3, according to the mayor's office. At the international terminal, drivers will have a designated spot on the lower level.

At Midway, drivers can pick up and drop off passengers at the south end of the upper level of the terminal. Additionally, 15 parking spots will be set aside in the south end of the cellphone lot where drivers can wait for their fares.

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