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Cabs decline as Uber rises

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The number of licensed taxicab drivers in Evanston has fallen dramatically since the transportation network providers Uber and Lyft started serving the city in 2013.

A report from city staff to be presented at Monday's City Council meeting says the number of drivers, which had been slowly declining from 366 in 2010 to 327 in 2013, dropped to 267 in 2014 and 208 in 2015. So far this year only 99 drivers have renewed their chauffeur's licenses with the city.

While there used to be more than two licensed drivers for each of the 140 taxicabs licensed in the city, now there's less than one driver per cab.

The memo says that customer service complaints about taxi service in the City of Chicago have declined since the transportation network providers arrived on the scene, but it provides no data about taxicab complaints in Evanston.

It also provides no information regarding any complaints in Evanston about the transportation network providers, although a news report says an Evanston woman earlier this year hit an Uber driver on the head with a baseball bat after she became upset about the driver blocking a downtown alley while waiting for a passenger.

Transportation network providers are regulated under state law, and after considering its own regulations in 2014 and 2015, aldermen decided to rely, at least for the time being, on the state regulatory scheme. Taxi services are regulated at both the state and local level.

The aldermen asked that staff report back on the issue this year — and staff is now asking for direction on whether they want to change the regulatory status quo for either transportation network providers, taxicabs, or both.

Related stories

City drops effort to license Uber (1/27/15)

Aldermen again hold off on Uber licensing scheme (1/14/15)

Evanston to again consider limits on Uber (1/12/15)

Aldermen back away from rideshare clampdown (9/25/14)

City seeks to regulate ridesharing firms (9/22/14)

Is Uber a threat to Evanston? (6/24/14)

Two taxi companies merge (1/4/13)

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