Chicago Cab Drivers Deserve a Living Wage

Target: Chicago City Council Transportation Committee

Goal: Raise fares to ensure taxi drivers receive fair wages.

With the city’s expansive avenues, jam-packed traffic, and skyrocketing gas prices, Chicago cabbies must work harder than ever just to take home their fair share at the end of their shifts. But a new set of city regulations has made it more difficult than ever for taxi drivers to earn the wages they deserve.

Although the new regulations will make a $1 fuel surcharge permanent, cab drivers have argued that this small supplement does not adequately cover the costs of soaring gas prices. The surcharge was instated back when gas rose above $3.20 per gallon; now, gas prices only just fell below $4 a gallon for the first time in many months. A combination of city taxes and the behavior of the local economy make Chicago’s gas among the most expensive in the country. Cab drivers cannot be expected to shoulder the excess cost when fuel prices rise above and beyond the rates that determined past surcharges.

Cab rides in Chicago may carry a higher starting price than those in New York or Boston, but they also currently cost less per mile. With new regulations hiking up the cost of cab leases and other driver expenses, drivers are now taking home a much smaller percentage of each payment they receive from customers. City regulations shouldn’t cut into the wages of some of Chicago’s hardest workers. Tell the city to raise cab fares and ensure that each taxi driver earns a fair paycheck.


Dear Aldermen of the City Council Transportation Committee,

Transportation regulations should keep prices fair and service reliable, not cut into the wages of the workers on whom the urban public depends. But new city regulations have increased the cost of driving a cab on Chicago’s streets without raising cab fares accordingly.

While the new set of regulations may have included certain provisions to compensate taxi drivers for their expenses, they have so far been insufficient to cover every extra cost. The $1 fuel surcharge made permanent by the new rules is now two years old and does not cover gas prices that have since risen well over $4 a gallon in the city. Other rules, like an increase in the cost of cab leases, directly cut into drivers’ wages. On the whole, these new regulations have made it impossible for cab drivers to bring home a fair paycheck at the end of the week.

I urge you to listen to the demands of Chicago’s taxi drivers and increase per-mile rates on all cab rides in the city. Like any worker, drivers deserve fair wages for the services they provide.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: John via Flickr.

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One Comment

  1. The REAL problem is the evil cab companies over charging and putting cabs that need repair on the roads and getting away with it! I have a friend who used to drive a cab and it was the greedy companies that were the real problem!

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