A proposal to add a 50-cent surcharge on credit and debit card payments for taxi rides is up for consideration today by the Council’s Transportation Committee. The ordinanceTransportation Committee Chair Ald. Anthony Beale (9) drafted comes on the heels of a 15% taxi fare hike the Council passed in the 2016 budget. It’s aimed at helping cabbies struggling to compete with Uber, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Speaking during yesterday’s License Committee on a separate taxi-related ordinance, Fayez Khozindar, Chairman of the United Taxi Drivers Community Council, says credit card payments have become a burdensome issue for cab drivers. Khozindar argued that since the city mandated each taxi have a credit card machine 12 years ago, drivers have had to eat the cost of the “expensive equipment” needed to protect customers’ credit card information. Cab drivers have also had to pay a significant portion of the 5% credit card transaction fee: $50 for every $1,000 made. “The 50-cents are not going for the driver, the 50-cents is to help pay the expensive equipment and the source credit card data and other related expenses,” he explained.
In the last quarter of 2015, October through December, the Illinois Transportation Trade Association PAC, a fund to support the Illinois taxicab industry, donated $3,000 to Ald. Beale, in addition to giving $10,000 to the Chicago Progressive Reform Caucus and $2,000 to Ald. John Arena, another progressive caucus alderman.