Efforts to improve taxi safety in Chicago

A new ordinance over taxi cabs in Chicago hopes to make the ride safer.

Jeremy Hobson: In Chicago today, city councilors are considering new rules to cut the number of traffic accidents involving taxicabs.

And as Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports, the latest proposal could hit taxi drivers in their wallets.


Jeff Tyler: Cab drivers in Chicago lease their taxis. The new ordinance could require cab companies to reduce the time drivers spend behind the wheel and track their movements using GPS -- changes that may drive up the cost of leasing a taxi.

George Lutfallah: The biggest concern is that lease rates go up and there's no fare increase.

George Lutfallah is a former taxi driver and publisher of an industry newspaper called The Chicago Dispatcher. He's not sure that limiting shifts to 12 hours would really improve safety.

Lutfallah: I'm pretty much forced to work during those 12 hours, whether I'm up to it or not. Whereas, if I had the cab for 24 hours, I could take a break.

But city officials may not get everything they want.

Here's Commissioner Rosemary Krimbel.

Rosemary Krimbel: In Chicago, it used to be that you could put a car on with 150,000 miles on it and start it as a cab. We've lowered it to 75,000. That is a concession.

A concession because she had wanted new taxis to be... well, you know, brand new.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.

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