Chicago City Council approved an ordinance Wednesday that will require ride-sharing drivers to pass a city-conducted drug test and background check, as well as require some drivers to obtain a chauffeur's license.
The new ordinance requires drivers to submit to background checks, training, vehicle inspection and zero tolerance drug policies. Drivers who work more than 20 hours a week must get public chauffer licenses.
"People that use it, even people who don't use it, because there is a new industry here, we have to make sure we are doing it in a way that ensures safety," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
While it might ensure safety, the taxi cab industry says the new ordinance doesn't go far enough to level the financial playing field, despite the fact that the measure has taken months to craft and voting on the ordinance was delayed last month.
Ald. Anthony Beale tried to get it delayed again, as he and others argue ride-share regulations are nothing compared to what the cab industry is required to do.
"They are making millions, they are not paying $360,000 for a medallion," Beale said. "Medallions will be useless if this ordinance passes."
Aldermen who voted against it said there should be more parody between the taxi and ride-share industries.
But one South Side alderman, who backs the ordinance, sees the growing ride-share industry as an opportunity in her neighborhood.
"We don't see a lot of cabs drivers on the South Side, it will give job opportunities to my community," Ald. Toni Foulkes said. "My neighbor right behind me is all signed up and ready to go."
The taxi cab industry fears the new ordinance may open the door to ride-sharing companies picking up at airports. Many say the mayor's involvement is a conflict of interest because his brother is an investor in Uber. Emanuel denies that.
State lawmakers are expected to pass their own set of ride-share regulations.
Chicago City Council passes ride-share ordinance
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