I-Team update: Rideshare veto

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed two bills that could have stalled Chicago ridesharing programs like Uber X, Lyft and Sidecar.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed two bills that could have stalled Chicago ridesharing programs like Uber X, Lyft and Sidecar.

Bill 4075, known as the "Uber bill," would have placed statewide rules on ridesharing, which is when a driver uses a personal vehicle to provide transportation to the public. Drivers use smartphones to offer rides to customers through the companies like Uber X, Lyft and Sidecar.

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"I am vetoing this legislation because it would have mandated a one-size-fits-all approach to a service that is best regulated at the local level," Quinn said in a statement.

The state bill would have required rideshare drivers who work more than 36 hours every two weeks to take classes and purchase a chauffeur license. They also would have needed a $350,000 commercial insurance policy.

"The bill, as it was written, was not for consumers. It was to protect an industry that already existed," Chris Taylor, GM Uber Chicago, said. Managers from Uber said the bill would have threatened the low prices and convenience of the ridesharing programs. When not on "surge pricing" during rush hour or extreme weather, Uber X is less expensive for passengers.

More than 85,000 people have signed up for ride sharing, according to Uber.

"It's a victory for those in under-served neighborhoods who can finally get a ride," Uber officials wrote in a statement.

Lyft also released a statement that read, in part: Lyft's peer-to-peer model enables communities to enjoy affordable and reliable transportation alternatives while creating new economic opportunities for residents . . . The legislation - designed to protect entrenched industries and maintain the status quo - would have stifled innovation and reduced consumer choice.

The vetoes sparked protests outside the Thompson Center on Monday morning by cab drivers who supported the legislation.

"Many times I am driving empty around the city," cab driver Damuda Mioduchowska said.

"I am shocked and appalled at what occurred here this morning," Senator Martin Sandoval said. Sandoval and sponsors of the bill vowed to get the veto overridden.

Opponents also say there are insurance gaps. Uber says drivers are covered by the company's policy and personal insurance when they aren't on a trip.

A friend of a woman who was struck and killed by an Uber X driver said Melba Farr's family is having trouble with the insurance claim.

"I am sure her children and her grandchildren miss her dearly because I do," friend Jaime Hjelm said.

Farr was killed by an Uber X driver in June. Uber said the driver was off-duty and claims were paid.

Sandoval also questioning the fact that Quinn's former Chief Of Staff Jack Levin and former Obama advisor David Plouffe both now work for Uber. But Uber says it's the cab industry that's lobbying.

"This is an old monopoly that's deeply engrossed in politics," Taylor said.

City ridesharing regulations go into effect on Tuesday. They include a minimum age, driver's license requirements and a clean driving record.

About the vetoed bills:

Uber Legislation House Bill 4075

Uber Legislation House Bill 5331
Related Topics:
business uber lyft taxi pat quinn politics I-Team Chicago - Loop
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