Last month, the Chicago City Council approved new ridesharing regulations that staved off an exodus by Uber and Lyft. The two ridesharing behemoths’ threatened to close their Chicago operations – like they did in Austin – if the local regulatory requirements proved too cumbersome.
After some reported last minute changes, the approved regulations struck a balance between the need to regulate these entrepreneurial transportation networks and allowing them the flexibility to provide transportation solutions that create new jobs and generate additional city revenue sources. The new regulations require all ridesharing companies to be licensed as a Transportation Network Provider, and each driver must obtain an annual license and abide by a list of driver requirements. There are licensing fees and certain other taxes, and a process for the city to revoke licenses, issue fines and for vehicles to be inspected and registered – including that any vehicle six years or older must pass semi-annual inspections.
As part of the approved ordinance, each licensed company shall within six months of ordinance approval submit a plan to enhance service to customers with disabilities and execute their plans within six months of plan approval. As to fingerprinting – a big issue for the ridesharing companies – the ordinance authorized the city to establish a task force to study the city’s current fingerprinting and background check requirements related to city employment and to the issuance or renewal of a city license or permit. This task force is charged with making its initial recommendations within 180 days from the effective date of the new ordinance.