Evanston aldermen this week again deferred action on a staff proposal to create a city licensing system for transportation network providers like Uber and Lyft.

The decision postponed a vote on a plan that would have adopted here rules similar to Chicago’s regulatory scheme — including its license fee of up to $25,000 a year for the services.

The inaction came the same day Gov. Pat Quinn, as he was leaving office, signed state legislation, Public Act 098-1173, that requires the services to provide liability insurance coverage for their drivers. That regulation was adopted after more a more restrictive plan favored by the taxi industry was defeated. Uber has voiced support for the bill Quinn signed.

The adoption of that legislation didn’t come up in City Council debate, but concerns about whether the ride-sharing drivers would be adequately insured provided one of the rationales for the proposed city regulation.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz said Tuesday that he would ask Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar to review the new state law and see what impact it may have on the need for separate regulation here.

Several aldermen at the Administration and Public Works Committee meeting questioned whether the city rules were needed.

Alderman Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward, said she was concerned about “the slippery slope of over-regulation.”

“It’s almost like when we were trying to regulate kids’ Kool-Aid stands,” Burrus said.

Farrar said he was concerned that someone injured by a ride-sharing vehicle might sue the city. But Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, suggested that was implausible. “If somebody runs into me on the way home and isn’t insured, I’m not going to be looking to the city to sue,” she said.

Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, compared the situation to a proposal not long ago that the city regulate scavengers who cruise alleys looking for discarded metal they can sell for scrap. It turned out there’s “no real desire to regulate them,” Braithwaite said.

Rainey said she’s had extremely good service from the ride-sharing companies, which she said cost less than cabs and offer better service in cleaner vehicles.

“We regulate taxis,” Rainey said, “but eight out of 10 of our taxis are vehicles you wouldn’t want to ride in.”

The proposal was held in committee for further consideration on Jan. 26.

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Evanston to again consider limits on Uber

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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      1. Effectiveness of licensing
        Good point. There is no way to prevent them completely. The question is whether regulation of vehicles and drivers in the livery business would make it safer or if regulationis only a cost. I hear that uber is good about doing background checks on drivers and I am pleased to read that they helped the police find the driver in this incident. I am not sure if I want to rely solely on the ride sharing companies though. Not that I am advocating for burdensome regulation. Would it be reasonable to require ride sharing companies to share a list of their drivers with local governments ?

        1. I think UBER is probably

          I think UBER is probably safer b/c you get a picture of the driver and the car and there is an electronic record of your trip with them. By comparison if you hail a cab, no one knows you are/were in that cab unless the driver wants them to.

      2. Two Uber drivers have been

        Two Uber drivers have been charged with sexual assault, one in September and one last week. One was an Uber driver who was immediately fired. The other one was not approved but his wife was. He was using his wife's credentials and did not have a valid license. I believe that her credentials were pulled.

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