It's basically impossible to ignore the impact that the likes of Uber and Lyft have had on the taxicab industry, and Chicago's given up trying. The city government has approved a package from the local cab-drivers union that, among other things, pushes for unified mobile dispatching apps. As proposed, it'd work a lot like the aforementioned ride-sharing services and, compared to apps like Hailo, this would link potential customers to all of the city's 7,000 taxis instead of just a handful here or there. Additionally, the Taxi Driver Fairness Reforms package would make it easier for cabbies to compete financially as well. Lease rates would drop for fuel-efficient vehicles, saving drivers, as the city notes (PDF), between 15 and 25 percent on electric, hybrid or compressed natural gas vehicle payments over three years.
Drivers would get a cut of any ad revenue from their cars, too. And, in perhaps one of the more customer-facing sections of the package, the five percent fee levied on credit card transactions would be dropped to three percent. That fee still isn't passed on to you, the passenger, but it could make for cabbies that are less apt to tell you they won't accept your credit card. As The New York Times reports, Chicago isn't alone in this, as a New York City council member recently proposed an "e-hail" app. Don't get too excited though, Gotham -- no votes have been cast one way or another just yet. Considering New York's oft-rocky history with ride-sharing, it should be interesting to watch how that proposal pans out.
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