New Chicago cab regulations inch closer

Cab drivers furious over committee vote

January 17, 2012

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(WBEZ/Jennifer Brandel)
Chicago cab drivers gathered after the committee vote to talk about their next steps to oppose some regulations.

Some Chicago cab drivers are declaring war on Chicago city government after a committee vote Tuesday in favor of new cab industry regulations.

Among the many protestors at Chicago's City Hall Tuesday morning were a few dozen cab drivers.

"They're turning us into slaves - slaves for the city and slaves for the cab companies and we are not gonna take it anymore," said Finn Ebelechukwu, a driver with Flash Cab.

Among the cab drivers' complaints: that incentives favor cab companies and not drivers. They also said the ordinance did not award a fare increase.

The packed committee meeting heard testimony from a dozen or so drivers, who implored the city to delay the vote so more considerations could work their way into the ordinance.

But the city said it has already gathered a ton of industry feedback from a variety of stakeholders. Just before the vote, the committee reminded those in attendance that an ordinance can always be amended after it passes. They then voted in favor of the ordinance 14-3.

Ebelechukwu was furious about the vote. "We're gonna start with strikes and then we're gonna start raising money against every single alderman who voted for this bill," he said. "The G-8 is coming. We're gonna work the G-8. But guess what? We're with the 99% and we'll see who's gonna drive all those people around who are coming into the city," Ebelechukwu warned.

The full City Council is expected to vote on Chicago's new cab regulations Wednesday.

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