Ride sharing is a growing trend around the world, especially in major cities where cab drivers have a bad reputation. However, this trend has caused debates over the regulation of ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft among others. This week in Chicago, the City Council has voted against a measure that would have required ride-sharing drivers to have fingerprint background checks and for ride-sharing companies to maintain a certain number of vehicles with the ability to accommodate handicapped passengers. Before this, Uber has already made it clear that fingerprint background checks will not solve the problem and would most likely cause the company to cease operations in the city. Uber and Lyft left Austin, Texas back in May after voters rallied for fingerprint background checks and tougher background checks. According to Anthony Beale, who is Chicago City's Chairman for the Council Transportation Committee, if ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft do leave Chicago, there will be no need for residents to worry as smaller firms will fill the void left by them and provide the same service.
Chicago's city council plans to study fingerprints for six months before deciding what to do next. As for handicapped passengers, ride-sharing companies have been given a year to ensure that 5 percent of their rides are accessible to disabled passengers or face a fine of $10, 000 per-day. Uber's 35,000 UberX drivers now must obtain special chauffeur licences which will permit them to drive like their taxi counterparts. Uber said in statement that this approach taken by the City Council is wrong as it doesn't make sense to hurt one industry just to help another. While Uber and Lyft drivers can obtain a chauffeur licence online, cab drivers have to attend classes to obtain the required credentials and these classes will be more expensive.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel on the other hand, has backed the ride-sharing services despite opposition over unfair regulations. Emanuel has stated that these services benefit the city's residents in terms of transportation as these services are available in areas of the city where cabs are scarce and ride sharing services also promote competition in the transport industry. Emanuel has also repeatedly stated that roughly 90 000 drivers are employed by Uber and Lyft. Emanuel's brother, Ari Emanuel is an Uber investor.