Naperville, Illinois Considering Reduced Regulations for Taxi Companies

By Michael Klazema on 8/24/2017
The Chicago suburb of Naperville, Illinois is considering pulling back its regulations for local taxi companies. Per a report from the Chicagoland area’s Daily Herald, Naperville officials are weighing whether loosening regulations would create a fairer transportation market without compromising public safety.

Per coverage, Naperville has regulations in place for taxi companies and their drivers but limited regulations for ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft. John Krummen, a Naperville City Council member, has stated that this practice is not only unfair but also confusing for locals. Krummen wondered whether the public even knows that taxi drivers go through so many steps to get out on the road, or that ridesharing services aren’t following the same rules. He proposed that taxi and ridesharing services should be regulated to the same extent—whether that means loosening standards for taxis or ramping them up for Uber and Lyft.

As reports indicate, current taxi regulations in Naperville include:

· Criminal background checks and fingerprinting for all taxi drivers

· Vehicle inspections for all cabs

· Proof of insurance for all cabs

· Taxi meter inspections for all cabs

Per the Daily Herald article, this process “involves multiple steps for the city clerk’s office and police” and has a turnaround time of “roughly five months.” In contrast, Uber and Lyft are expected to complete driver background checks independently with minimal regulation by local government.

Supporters claim that the proposed changes to Naperville’s policies would essentially give taxi companies the same level of freedom that Uber and Lyft currently enjoy. The city would still be responsible for licensing taxi companies wishing to do business in Naperville. Currently, there are 11 taxi companies that do business in the suburb.

If passed, reports note, the job of running background checks for individual positions would shift away from the Naperville police and onto the shoulders of the taxi companies. Each company would be responsible for running background checks on its own drivers. Taxi companies would still be required to run annual background checks on their drivers. They would also be expected to fingerprint each of their drivers every five years.

This policy shift has the potential to save Naperville’s police department and city clerk’s office a lot of time according to its supporters. The Daily Herald has reported that the city is responsible for running background checks on 280 taxi drivers each year.

Some city council members are concerned that reducing regulations on local taxi companies could lead to a less safe transportation market for residents. One council member suggested that the city should start regulating Uber and Lyft on the same level that it currently regulates cab companies rather than cutting regulations for taxis.

Naperville has been considering deregulating the local taxi industry since last November. The city council is expected to decide on the matter soon, coverage states.

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