The Future of Mobile

Chicago Prepares to Compete with Uber with own Taxi App

Tim Maytom

chicagoChicago's city council has passed a package of financial supports for taxi drivers, including a provision for the creation of an app that will serve as a rival to Uber and other ride-sharing services.

The city plans to run a competitive procurement process and allow app developers to compete for designation as a universal app, noting that while many taxi drivers use apps like Uber, no app contains more than a few hundred taxis, out of a fleet of nearly 7,000.

Chicago is the first major city to agree to develop its own competing app, but a similar move was proposed in New York earlier this week by City Council member Ben Kallos.

The package, which also includes fee breaks, ad revenue sharing and the establishment of a 'Taxi Driver Fairness Task Force', was pushed for by a union that includes taxi drivers, and had the support of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

"The taxi driver community is an important part of Chicago's transportation infrastructure, critical to the City's tourism strategy, and an essential workforce to Chicago's taxi industry," said Emanuel. "These reforms represent what is necessary to further modernise this growing industry."