Emanuel defends attempts to kill plan to license Uber drivers

Posted5/3/2016 2:21 PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday defended his furious behind-the-scenes lobbying effort to snuff out a plan backed by 32 of 50 aldemen to license ride-hailing drivers to level the playing field with cabdrivers.

For years, cabdrivers and their City Council allies have accused Emanuel of favoring Uber, whose investors include Hollywood super-agent Ari Emanuel, the mayor's brother.


But Emanuel maintained Monday that his only goal is to maintain the level of competition between ride-hailing and taxicabs that has dramatically improved passenger services.

"For years, the taxi industry never serviced the South Side or the West Side of Chicago. They never went there. Never picked up anybody. Never dropped anybody off. We now have an industry not only servicing all parts of Chicago, [but] also giving employment opportunities to people -- a supplemental income. The majority of the drivers are doing it part time," the mayor said.

"Through the competition, there's choice. And more importantly than that, parts of the city that were cut off and not serviced before by the traditional taxi industry are finally getting service that never existed before," he said.

Last week, Uber touted results of a new poll that showed 69 percent of Chicagoans surveyed oppose an influential alderman's plan to license Uber and Lyft drivers to level the playing field with cabdrivers.

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