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Strong hint that Chicago cab fares will rise

The Emanuel administration is looking seriously at changing the rates for taxi cab rides in Chicago.

Cab drivers in Chicago have long argued for a raise, and Rosemary Krimbel is giving them reason to be optimistic. Krimbel is commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Services, which oversees taxicabs.

She said she has a team looking at the economics of the taxi industry, which she described as "out of whack." At a city council budget hearing on Monday morning, Kimbrel told Ald. Ed Burke that review is looking at the different rates calculated by meters.

"They click faster when you're moving then when you're standing, which means it's much more academically profitable for a cab driver to go like this and change lanes constantly, rather than sit there at the light or wait for the light," Krimbel said.

"I just thought it was in their DNA that they had to drive like that," Burke said, as Krimbel laughed.

Krimbel said Chicago's cab fares are 4th lowest among major cities even when an existing gas surcharge is included, hinting strongly the administration was moving toward changes that'd mean more money for cab drivers. She said no decisions have been made.

Burke has proposed an additional dollar surcharge, but it wouldn't go to the drivers. It'd go to the city.

Krimbel said she hopes her department's review is finished by the end of the year or early 2012.

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