Chicago panel OKs Uber and Lyft rules requiring fingerprints

A Chicago City Council committee has advanced plans to increase regulations for ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft.

"We're not bad people. We're being treated horribly,” one woman said.

A Lyft driver had tears in her eyes moments after the City Council's Transportation and Licensing Committees approve a package of regulations aimed at leveling the playing field between taxis and ride shares.
"We're not forcing anyone out of the city of Chicago. We welcome everybody in. However we have guidelines which you operate in,” said Alderman Anthony Beale.

Under the ordinance that will go to the full City Council next week, ride sharing drivers will undergo a criminal background check, including fingerprinting, have to obtain a limited chauffeur's license, attend a one-day class, get their vehicles inspected by City Hall, and pay a one-time fee of $115-dollars.

"We know their value, Uber and Lyft, these are billion dollar companies, multi-billion dollar companies. All we're saying is look, make sure our consumers are protected,” said Alderman John Arena.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Lyft calls the ordinance: "....An onerous, outdated model - requiring hundreds of dollars in fees just to share a seat in their car. It would make true ridesharing impossible. Because of this, we will be forced to cease operations in Chicago if this ordinance becomes law."

And UBER says: "The ordinance would make it nearly twice as expensive to get a ride by putting up costly, unnecessary barriers for ridesharing drivers."

"I'm very much against it. I'm a single mom who started off doing this part time and this was my way of making extra money,” said UBER driver Sandra Lam.

The ride-sharing companies argue they fill a need by sending drivers to underserved neighborhoods on the south and west sides where taxis are difficult to find.

But taxi drivers that FOX 32 talked to say without the new rules, they'll be forced out of business.

"It's not fair because they don't have the regulations like we do and the city of Chicago don't want to control them like they're controlling us,” said taxi driver Lurii Bednarskyi.

The vote is also a defeat for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who had opposed the new regulations. A spokesman for the mayor told FOX 32 that the city will continue to negotiate with the ride sharing companies in the hopes of reaching a compromise before the ordinance goes before the full city council next week.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Uber and Lyft officials have opposed the proposed regulations. Uber and Lyft already require background checks of their drivers. But the companies argue the proposal will limit the number of drivers available. There are approximately 90,000 registered Uber and Lyft Drivers in Chicago.

However, Alderman Anthony Beale says the proposed ordinance is about protecting consumers. He says there could be additional changes to the proposal before next Wednesday's full City Council meeting.