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Inside Chicago's Taxi Data: Busiest and Slowest Days, Average Tips And More

By Tanveer Ali | September 30, 2016 5:01am
 City data shows how much Chicagoans tip and what days of the year they are likely to ride.
City data shows how much Chicagoans tip and what days of the year they are likely to ride.
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CHICAGO — During the first six months of this year, Chicago's cab drivers have given 11.3 million rides.

That may seem like a lot, but that's down from the 15.7 million taxi rides given during the same period in 2014.

The city's Business Affairs and Consumer Protection responded to a Freedom of Information Act request providing taxi trip information in Chicago covering every day from January 1, 2013, to June 30, 2016.

During that period, there were nearly 97 million trips logged, racking up fares totaling nearly $1.3 billion.


Ride-hailing service Uber came to Chicago in 2011, though it started out as a way to connect riders with cab drivers. Lyft came to Chicago in 2013.

The data provided by the city shows that taxi ridership in Chicago hit a peak in May 2014, when cabdrivers gave 2.9 million rides. Since then the monthly numbers have plummeted. By comparison, there were just under 2 million rides given in May of this year.

With fewer rides, fares have also taken a hit. In June 2015, fares for cab rides totaled $36.2 million. This June, that number was $29.1 million.

This year's numbers would be even lower if not for a 15 percent fare hike that went into effect at the beginning of the year. As a result, the average fare on a ride in 2016 was $14.11 compared with $13.36 last year.

Some other trends the data shows about cab rides in Chicago:


While it's unclear how much people who pay cash give in tips, riders using credit cards usually tip on average 21.1 percent. (Last December, they were particularly generous with tips averaging about 22.5 percent.) One thing to note, 4 percent of credit card fares go to credit card companies.


The most popular day of the year to use a taxi is not during the summer or on New Year's Day, but the Saturday of the annual St. Patrick's Day celebration when Chicago dyes its river green. More than 150,000 cab rides were logged on that day in 2014, by far the biggest cab day in Chicago since 2013. 


On the other end of the spectrum is Christmas Day. On Christmas 2015, cabdrivers only gave 14,600 rides around the city.

RELATED: Cab Rides Down 23 Percent In Chicago This Year As Uber And Lyft Take Bite

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