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Uber demands a veto

Thursday, Jul 10, 2014

* The last time I was in Chicago, I went out of my way to try to use Uber. But I quickly discovered that it was far easier to hail a taxi. Then again, I was in the Mag Mile, so cabs were literally everywhere.

A friend who lives on the South Side uses Uber because cabs are often more than a bit hard to come by. I get that. Outside the Loop, it can be tough to find a taxi. And the further south you go, the tougher it is.

A few weeks ago, a friend insisted that all of us wait on an Uber car even though there was a cab 15 feet away from us in the West Loop. He lost that argument. He prefers riding in a nicer car. I get that, too, but city cabs aren’t usually that horrific and it was getting cold and the rest of us didn’t wanna wait around any longer.

* As we discussed yesterday, Uber wants Gov. Pat Quinn to veto a regulatory bill sitting on his desk and projects 500 new corporate HQ jobs if this happens.

The company sent a blast e-mail out to its Chicagoland list today…

We need your help now.

Your right to transportation choice as an Illinois consumer is one signature away from disappearing.

There is still time for action to be taken. Governor Quinn has the opportunity to uphold his reputation as a champion for the Illinois consumer.

Tell Governor Quinn to veto HB 4075 now!


The City of Chicago has passed sensible regulations that preserve ridesharing, keep prices low and quality high for consumers, and create thousands of new driver jobs.

HB 4075 does NOTHING to improve safety standards for riders or drivers. Uber partners already carry significantly higher insurance coverage and adhere to stricter safety standards than other transportation options in the city of Chicago.

The provisions in HB 4075 that threaten Illinois consumers are:

    * Caps on flexible supply: restricting drivers ability to get on the road means fewer cars when you need them. That means more stranded people, more DUIs, and less service to underserved communities that need rides the most.

    * Full-time red tape for part-time drivers: ridesharing creates thousands of jobs for people in need of cash to pay their bills. This bill destroys jobs by requiring even part-time drivers who occasionally work more to get a professional chauffeurs license.

    * Higher costs: applying old insurance models to rideshare drivers that already have nearly 3X the level of insurance as taxis is a maneuver by taxi companies intended to drive costs up for consumers, and protect the taxi monopoly that costs us all dearly.

If ridesharing is allowed to flourish, tens of thousands of jobs will be created over the coming years as more people ditch their cars in favor of the sharing economy. Tell Governor Quinn not to destroy the jobs of military veterans, teachers, retirees, students, the unemployed and underemployed, and thousands of other part-time drivers.

It’s no coincidence that the state’s insurance industry supports the bill on Gov. Quinn’s desk. Insurers are very powerful here - a lot more powerful than the taxi industry. And not just here, either

The Property and Casualty Insurance Association of America, an influential trade group, issued a statement during hearings in Buffalo, New York, which would ban operations by Uber and Lyft, alleging “serious insurance gaps” in operations by TNC services. Kristina Baldwin, a spokesperson for the organization, said that ride-sharing services’ insurance policies are “a source of confusion for drivers and passengers, who either erroneously believe that the personal automobile policy will provide coverage, or realize that it does not and are simply hoping for the best. This confusion is likely to result in costly coverage disputes and delayed compensation to accident victims.”

The Teamsters Union is even getting involved in California.

And as much as I love Austin, Texas, that city has not yet legalized ride-sharing companies. Who knew that Chicago was more “business friendly” than Austin?


- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - A guy... - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    And just yesterday, Uber was so congenial.

    I’m an Uber fan. Biased. He should veto the bill.

  2. - Bill White - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:22 pm:

    How does Uber create jobs?

    Anyone who rides Uber won’t take a traditional taxi or public transit.

    I appreciate that Uber might be a better way to run a taxi service however it seems to me that every job Uber adds will be offset by a job lost elsewhere.

    Thus zero sum.

    = = =

    Folks in my little town tried to argue that building a new Walgreens would create jobs.

    However, they were ignoring the fact that the majority of customers of that new Walgreens would come from an older Walgreens which would be closed and a CVS down the street.

    New jobs minus old jobs equals zero sum game.

  3. - Angry Chicagoan - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Well, let’s hope the bill gets vetoed. So often, this state has a tin ear towards a) small business and b) new entrants into a market. And that’s before you even start considering the lobbying power of vested interests.

    By way of a clue, Minnesota has been by far the fastest growing state in the Midwest for the last 60 years, and with an expansion-minded Democratic government now ensconced again in St. Paul, the Census predictions from a couple of years ago that they’d finally lose that eighth congressional district have gone away; it’s increasingly looking like it will be eight seats for a seventh consecutive decade, while Illinois and neighbors continue to bleed seats due to sub-par demographics. I really think a lot of it has to do with the sheer ease of setting up in business there compared to here . . .or Missouri . . . or Wisconsin . . . . or most other Midwestern states. Even if the MN taxes are on the high side, if the taxes go on worthwhile things, and the red tape is minimized, it goes a long way. But all the politicians in the rest of the Midwest seem to care about is taxes. They love red tape, and excluding new businesses.

  4. - Illiana - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    Really, I wish they could just find a way to get rid of whole taxi medallion system. Why should the city have a quota on the the number of jobs as taxi drivers in the city? Use some reasonable safety & criminal records standards like the ones they probably already got & just let people who qualify become taxi drivers in whatever quantity are willing & able to do the job.

  5. - William j Kelly - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:27 pm:

    Ok let’s be clear Rahm’s brother Ari who has a big stake in uber want the veto now! Crony politics/crony capitalism, you think it’s bad now? You haven’t seen anything yet!

  6. - William j Kelly - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:34 pm:

    People do whatever Ari says in Hollywood but please don’t forget this is Illinois.

  7. - Bunson8r - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:50 pm:

    I did think the bill was a bit harsh on Uber. I wouldn’t mind Quinn doing an amendatory veto to take out anything that would really hurt the business, like upping the hours worked requirement to trigger the need for a Chauffeur’s license, or to allow for different classes of a Chauffeur’s license based on hours worked. Also wouldn’t mind a provision for Uber to self-insure its drivers, as long has they maintained a large bond with the state and covered passengers against under and uninsured motorists.

  8. - Bill White - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 2:56 pm:

    One way to increase competition and create a revenue stream for a city that needs money would be to slowly and steadily increase the number of medallions, with the revenue going to the city.

  9. - Joan P. - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 3:07 pm:

    I would never use Uber. I don’t want to ride in an unregulated vehicle driven by some random person without the proper license and insurance. No way.

    What’s really disturbing is the idea that insurance/chauffeur’s license requirements should be based on the AVERAGE hours of ALL drivers. Which means simply that if most Uber drivers work a few hours a week, the guy who is basically doing it full-time gets a pass. That’s crazy.

    And, yes, cabs don’t generally cruise the south and west sides. Neither do Uber drivers. Either way, you have to call. And Uber drivers are no more likely to want to go to certain areas than cab drivers are. Less, probably, because they don’t have bullet-proof partitions in their vehicles.

  10. - William j Kelly - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 3:09 pm:

    Does anybody else think it is a conflict for Rahm’s brother Ari to have such a stake in uber? ……. Anybody? ….No? …. Ok

  11. - DuPage - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 4:50 pm:

    No Veto! If they do it for them, then they have to do it for everyone. The number of new jobs is not that many. If they are as good as they say they are, they should be able to do well without needing the veto.

  12. - Noah Vanderhoff - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 5:38 pm:

    Dealing with cab dispatchers, never knowing when your ordered cab would actually show up and having to hail cabs in low-traffic areas - there was a need and cab companies were not meeting it. Enter Uber. Better, more convenient way of doing business with customer service high in mind. If cab companies become a thing of the past, it’s their own fault. Such is the way of the market. Having regulation-happy lawmakers protect you from the new guy in town is the Illinois way but not the common sense decision here.

  13. - Ann - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 6:08 pm:

    Not an Uber fan here. Couldn’t even get one at the Medical Center, let alone in a neighborhood that isn’t on the north side. People with disabilities need access to cabs. All of us need to be assured that the drivers who pick us up have adequate insurance. Sure there are plenty of gripes about taxis, but I have to say that 90% of the Chicago cabbies I’ve ridden with were perfectly competent drivers.

  14. - DuPage - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 6:35 pm:

    I just read someone claims he was kidnapped by an Uber driver. Seems an Uber driver was being chased by someone and got away in a high speed chase across state lines with the passenger in the car. He refused to stop to let the passenger out. I think the state has good reason to regulate Uber and similar companies.

  15. - Reformed Public Servant - Thursday, Jul 10, 14 @ 9:29 pm:

    Technology “DISRUPTERS” meet with the good old fashion brute force of POLITICS & MONEY - my $ is on POLITICS & MONEY

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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