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First, fix the bottlenecks

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2015

* Anyone who has ever waited in long lines for a taxi at O’Hare and Midway can relate to this Uber video

The problem isn’t usually a lack of cabs, however. It’s the way the system is set up. Too many people are fed through a funnel that’s just way too narrow. Uber cars picking up people willy nilly around the airport could cause other problems for those folks who are waiting on friends and family for rides.

Hey, I’m not against Uber at all. But what I’d like to see is a much more rational approach to the cab stands in the first place. The city should fix those goofy airport bottlenecks before they add more cars.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - The Captain - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

  2. - walker - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:17 am:

    Yes. One can often see scores of cabs waiting in a holding lot at O’Hare, while scores of riders are waiting to be picked up.

  3. - Keyrock - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:18 am:

    Right on, Rich.
    And I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those incompetent cab stand minders are still folks Victor Reyes put there.

  4. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:19 am:

    Great point

  5. - Same as it ever was - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:21 am:

    The airport cab layout is a logistical nightmare. Throwing more cars into the mix with random stops for pickups could make things worse. If nothing else, this may prompt the city to improve their setup.

  6. - OneMan - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:33 am:

    Would be interesting if the pick up point for Uber is the kiss and fly area near remote parking.

    Also I suspect the Uber folks might end up using the cell phone lot for staging, a underused resource at both of Chicago’s airports IMHO

  7. - Mekong Cafe - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:47 am:

    What will the 16,000 taxi drivers in Chicago and the surrounding area do when Uber automates their vehicles? Will they lose their homes, be unable to educate their children, go on welfare, food stamps, Medicaid?

    Do we want $1.5 Billion in annual taxi revenue leaving the hands of local taxpayers and going into the pockets of a small group of investors in California?

  8. - NoGifts - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 10:57 am:

    Yeah, and for the unaware if you live in the suburbs and take the next taxi in line and it happens to be a city cab, you get charged double the fare. Welcome to the region. You aren’t being robbed, it just feels like it.

  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:07 am:

    Hey, Mekong, are you worried about the taxi drivers or the billionaire medallion hoarders who live in NYC?

  10. - Mokenavince - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    O’Hare the land of organized chaos. The taxis medallions a license to steal,the Chicago way.

  11. - Mekong Cafe - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    I didn’t say the system was fair or equitable. The current system can be changed. At least the current system provides employment to human beings. This debate will have to run its course on a national level, however the changes/pressure we are about to experience from automation are not like previous advancements in technology we’ve seen in history. These jobs will disappear forever, they will not be replaced. We have the choice to determine what kind of society we live in. We don’t have to let technology and a small cadre of inventors and investors control and own everything.

  12. - OneMan - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    What will the 16,000 taxi drivers in Chicago and the surrounding area do when Uber automates their vehicles? Will they lose their homes, be unable to educate their children, go on welfare, food stamps, Medicaid?

    Have to deal with change, just like workers have for generations when technology, environment or any of a host of other factors caused changes in economic activity.

    Think about how many TV repair shops there are now vs 40 years ago. When I was a kid, there was a guy who came to your house and fixed your TV and charged a decent chunk of money for it. Now if they even try to fix your TV it isn’t by replacing a couple of tubes or other individual parts it is by swapping out a board, then again how many people even bother having a TV fixed anymore vs just replacing it.

    The autonomous driving future is going to be a lot more than just impacting the tax companies. It is going to change not only transportation but how we care for the aging (how will ‘old age’ be different when transportation in available easily to the elderly who can not drive) or when your car might be ‘out working’ while you are at work as well. Think of the future where you can tell your car, go earn some money. Autonomous driving has the potential to be a game changer well beyond the taxi industry.

  13. - Lincoln Parker - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:34 am:

    The cab lines at the airports is the most inefficiently run operation I have ever encountered. Recently I was with a group of 4 people and lots of luggage, so we needed a van. There was an empty van available, but we were 2nd in line, behind a single business traveler. We asked the cab starter if we could have the van since we had need for it. She made a big scene how we could only get the next cab after the van, since we were 2nd in line. Luckily the single traveler was a reasonable person and told us to take the van, and he got the sedan behind it. It was a great way to come back to Chicago after 10 days abroad.

  14. - El Duderino - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    ===What will the 16,000 taxi drivers in Chicago and the surrounding area do when Uber automates their vehicles? Will they lose their homes, be unable to educate their children, go on welfare, food stamps, Medicaid?===

    The horse is out of the barn. Driverless cars are coming. The taxi companies are either going to adapt to that technology or they’ll go away completely. Either way, the 16,000 taxi drivers you mention are an endagered species.

  15. - Gooner - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 11:57 am:

    The ridiculous thing is that limos of course are available. Distinguishing being limos and Uber seems ridiculous. Basically, banning Uber causes me to pay more for a ride equivalent to the Uber black car since I generally don’t want to deal with cabs after a long day of travel.

    After being stuck on a plane for six hours, who wants to sit in an often terrible smelling cab for another hour?

  16. - Tom B. - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 1:12 pm:

    I know it’s fun to knock all things Chicago sometimes, but there’s a reason these silly things are set up this way: If you just cabs circle the pick up areas, you’ll create a traffic nightmare.

    Those lines move quickly when there are lots of planes landing because the cabs come flocking to the holding area and then fill the line.

    Uber can go there too but this notion that they should just get to do whatever they want when they want is ridiculous.

  17. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 1:17 pm:

    Chicago could have the same rules for Uber as they do for the cab industry or vice versa. Government should never be picking the winners and losers in the marketplace. With rules like the taxi industry is forced to exist by, I’m surprised the problems aren’t even worse. Personally, I would love for the government to give my business special treatment and set different rules for my competitors. Not sure what political system that’s called.

  18. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Oct 27, 15 @ 5:18 pm:

    I still prefer the driver who had to take and pass a rather difficult test to someone who got the job by owning a car.

    Even if the pro is working for the Russian mob.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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