June 18, 2017
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Chicago, IL – Competition from unregulated ride-share companies is decimating Chicago’s taxi industry, according to a report released earlier this month by Cab Drivers United, AFSCME Local 2500.
The number of taxi rides in the city fell from 2.29 million in January 2014 to 1.1 million in January 2017, it said, and almost one-fifth of the about 7,000 taxi medallions have either gone into foreclosure or been surrendered to the city. The CDU says there are now more than 225,000 ride-share vehicles in the city—who don’t have to have medallions, pay about $1,000 a year in ground-transportation taxes, be accessible to people with disabilities, or take cash. One driver whose medallions are in foreclosure is Ghana-born John Aikins, who bought one medallion 15 years ago for $70,000 and took out a loan to buy another five years ago, after he paid off the first. “I had planned to retire this year,” he told In These Times. But the number of fares had dropped so much that “we just couldn’t make it.” “If relief is not provided, we will see much more decimation of the industry,” said Tracey Abman, associate director of AFSCME Council 31. “Time is of the essence.” Read more