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Ride-Sharing License Requirement Delayed by City

By Ted Cox | April 30, 2014 11:16am | Updated on April 30, 2014 1:08pm
 The fuzzy pink moustache that marks Lyft ride-sharing cars sits on a table at a February community meeting.
The fuzzy pink moustache that marks Lyft ride-sharing cars sits on a table at a February community meeting.
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DNAinfo/Quinn Ford

CITY HALL — There was no smooth ride Wednesday for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's attempt to create a new city license for ride-sharing firms.

Ald. John Arena (45th) moved to delay passage through a procedural move at Wednesday's City Council meeting, joined by Aldermen Roderick Sawyer (6th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd) and Anthony Beale (9th), head of the Transportation Committee.

They attempted to hold it until June 26, but the mayor, who proposed the ordinance, said it could only be held until the next council meeting. He said it would hold until "a date to be determined."

The mayoral move, to create a license for ride-sharing firms separate from taxis, has divided the council.

Although it cleared the License Committee last week, Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd) at the time moved to postpone a vote on it while the Illinois General Assembly considers another bill more favorable to taxis that would prevent the city from implementing anything more liberal for ride sharing.

That attempt failed. But Fioretti said Wednesday the delay would serve the same purpose, as the General Assembly is expected to act on its bill next month. It has already passed the state House and is now in the Senate.

Emanuel's ordinance, which cleared the council's License Committee last week, would create a two-tier license for what is termed "transportation network providers." Companies with drivers averaging 20 hours a week would face an annual $25,000 fee and $25 a driver, with strict third-party demands for driver background checks and car inspections. Others would face a $10,000 fee and $25 a driver and would be largely self-regulating.

The cab industry has said it would create unfair competition and points to the $360,000 the city has typically used as a starting bid for taxi medallions. Ald. Edward Burke (14th) has said the ride-sharing license would undercut the estimated $2.5 billion the city has invested in its 7,000 taxi medallions.

The taxi industry has already filed suit against the city for failing to enforce existing cab regulations on ride-sharing firms.