Universal Taxi App Coming to Chicago

There's a new taxi app coming to Chicago. 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection on Monday announced plans to launch a universal smartphone app that will include every taxi in Chicago.

“The universal taxi app would allow residents to connect to licensed taxis using their smartphones,” according to a release from the mayor’s office. “All licensed taxicab drivers will be required to use the universal app while on duty.”

As for the provider of the app, the city will select a company or companies through a competitive bidding process, officials said.

“Technology knows no boundaries and with the universal taxi app Chicago residents stand to benefit,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Residents from all across Chicago will be able to request a ride and be connected to a nearby taxi with the click of a button.”

The new app would increase access to taxis across the city, particularly in historically undeserved communities.

“This app will be a win for the taxi industry, who can remain competitive, and for passengers, who will reap the benefits with premium service,” Maria Guerra Lapacek, Commissioner of BACP, said in a statement. “It will allow customers to find a taxi more efficiently, without having to make an advance reservation or wait on a busy street corner.”

The move comes as city taxi drivers compete with popular ride-sharing apps like Uber. 

Earlier this year, some Chicago cab drivers protested the ride-share services at City Hall, arguing that they deserved a level playing field. 

Uber, however said it's concerned about the new city taxi app.

"Uber continues to grow in Chicago because we connect people with safe and affordable rides to all neighborhoods," a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. "We welcome competition."

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