New regulations could change ridesharing in Chicago as we know it

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CHICAGO -- Rideshare companies in Chicago are fighting a proposed ordinance that would require drivers to get chauffeur’s licenses.

They say if passed, it could end ride-sharing as we know it in Chicago.

There are several types of licenses professional drivers in the city need and the proposed ordinance would require rideshare drivers to get one of these two licenses:  Either the taxi chauffeur’s license or the restricted chauffeur’s license.

Taxi drivers are required to take a six day course and a test that costs about $300.  Delivery drivers are required to take a one day course and a test that costs about $115.  In addition, drivers in both categories are responsible for any fees associated with fingerprinting, drug testing and a physical.

Rideshare companies say if their drivers are forced to get either of these licenses, it would be nearly impossible for ridesharing to operate in the city.

Alderman Beale introduced the proposal.

“We’re not trying to favor one or the other,” he said.  “We’re just trying to make sure everybody has the same rules and regulations and at the same time.  (We want) to make sure everyone is protected when they get into an Uber to know that they’re safe and that person has been checked out.”

Uber says its drivers are already vetted and pass background checks and vehicle inspections.

“If this ordinance goes forward as proposed, we’d be losing tens of thousands of drivers here and it would do away with the product as we know it,” said Marco McCottry, GM of Uber Illinois.

Uber says 56% of its drivers are working less than 10 hours a week and that adding a course and fees would only deter those part time drivers and mean fewer rides available for riders.

But Ald Beale believes there needs to be an even playing field and all drivers in the city should have licenses.  He plans to start hearings on the proposed ordinance later this month. ​