Auto World News Chicago Creating Taxi App to Rival Uber, Lyft by Matt Mercuro
Chicago has fired back at ridesharing services like Uber with the announcement of a sponsored app for riders to hail local cabs.The measure is part of a package that includes financial support for taxis, like fee breaks, passed by the city council on Wednesday.
A union that expanded into cab drivers and organized Chicago earlier this year pushed for the package, which had the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
The "reforms represent what is necessary to further modernize this growing industry" Emanuel said in a statement.
Uber's app, which allows mobile phone users to find drivers, is growing around the world, though there are concerns over fair competition with cabs, Uber's use of data about rider's and the safety of Uber drivers, which has led to government measures.
Uber's service was banned in India, Thailand and some U.S. cities recently due to those concerns. The company hasn't commented directly yet on the Chicago plans.
"We have found a way to level the playing field," between cabs and ridesharing services, said City Councilman Emma Mitts, a co-sponsor of the ordinance, according to Reuters.
The new ordinance commits the city to creating a mobile app that will serve as a dispatch for all of the taxiclub companies in the city. Rideshare companies include Uber and Lyft offer dispatch of a wide variety of vehicles, and in some places, the Uber app can call taxis.
A number of questions still remain, like who will pay for the app, how it will be administered and whether rideshare services would be able to bid for the contract to develop or run it.
Chicago seems to be the only major city to agree to develop its own app, though New York City Council Member Ben Kallos proposed a similar app this week.
Half of Chicago's 7,000 active cabbies have joined AFSCME since June, according to Reuters.