Evanston aldermen voted Monday night to raise the fine for out-of-town taxicabs that solicit for passengers in Evanston to $750.

The city ordinance previously had provided a range of fines from $25 to $500 for the violation.

An Evanston-based Best Taxi waits for a fare at the Davis CTA station this morning. (Jan Smith photo)

The ordinance was adopted after a traffic-jam of debate that left several aldermen saying they were confused.

The new fine is designed to prevent out of town cabs from parking at cab stands in the city or cruising for business here. The city’s taxi license administrator conceded in response to a question from an alderman that no cabs have been ticketed for those violations in the past year.

As amended by Alderman Don Wilson, 4th Ward, the adopted ordinance does not contain another provision Evanston-licensed cabbies had sought.

That measure would have banned residents from calling out-of-town cab companies to set up pre-arranged rides.

It was strongly opposed by some local business owners and by residents who said they appreciated the service they get from American Taxi  a dispatch service that serves independent owner-operators, only a few of whom hold Evanston licenses.

Cab owners who supported the fine increase and the ban on pre-arranged rides from out-of-town cabs said the added competition was making it tough for them to make a living.

But opponents of the limit on pre-arranged rides said it would restrict residents’ freedom to choose who they do business with and would create delays for residents seeking cab service during times when there was a lot of demand for cabs.

They also noted that Chicago and all other suburban communities except Rosemont permit residents to set up pre-arranged rides with out-of-town cabs.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Cabs

    I’ve lived in Evanston now for several years and had no idea there were that many cab companies vying for such a small suburban market. I’ve seen cabs, mostly sitting and waiting, but that’s it. It seems to me that there needs to be some sort of advertising, especially now that this ordinance was passed. I’m not trying to say that these companies need to buy TV spots, but there has to be some sort of recognition for them. 
     
    Do they offer flat rates to O’Hare, or the Loop? If they’re there, can they then pick someone up and bring them back? It would have to be hard them to drive to the Loop if they had no fares to pick up once there. There’s no incentive for them to want to do that. That being said, if they are that hurting for money some is better than none. 
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