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Chicago's rideshare and taxi battle may cost rather than save

Much has been made lately about Governor Quinn’s vetoing of legislation that would have regulated rideshare companies. As it currently stands, the rideshares are in a position to seriously undercut the rates charged by the traditional taxi companies. While the infiltration of rideshare services into Chicago’s transportation industry is being lauded as a boon to innovation, an increase in commercial vehicle accidents may also possibly loom in the city’s future.

Reportedly, neither rideshare nor taxi drivers are doing all that well financially. For some time, taxi drivers have found themselves strapped by regulations, increased lease rates and the price of gas. On the other hand, an organizer for a taxi driver council points out that rideshare drivers have to cover their own expenses for insurance and maintenance.

A 2009 university study revealed that taxi drivers may take in a pay rate as low as $4.38 per hour for a 13 hour shift. The organizer says he has spoken to rideshare drivers who tell of receiving fees for trips that were notably below the level of pay that a taxi driver would earn for the same trip.

The rideshare versus taxi companies competition could prove to be a race to the bottom with passengers and others on the road ultimately paying the price. This is because when profits are minimal, corners get cut. A taxi cab company may put off purchasing new tires, brake pads or other essential parts for their fleet vehicles for as long as possible. Likewise, rideshare drivers may delay needed repairs to increase their personal profitability.

A vehicle that is in near constant motion needs constant upkeep. If the battle for paid ride service proves protracted, the city’s streets could have an abundance of dangerously undermaintained automobiles. This situation could prove very hazardous to passengers, pedestrians and those in other vehicles.

If you are ever part of an accident involving a taxi or rideshare vehicle, you may find determining liability a difficult proposition. An Illinois commercial vehicle accident attorney may be able to investigate the incident and help you with your compensation needs.

Source: The Chicago Reporter, “Ridesharing perpetuates 'sweatshop on wheels',” Curtis Black, Aug. 28, 2014