E NOTES By Kai EL’Zabar Defender Executive Editor Black Up!


By Kai EL’Zabar

Defender Executive Editor


   “These people make up the work force in Chicago and have found a means to manage their lives, pay their bills and take care of their families while maintaining their










Uber, the ride-sharing app, has been in the news lately over the potential legislation that for all practical purposes will shut them down in Chicago. And why? That’s the question we wish to pose to the aldermen who have rallied behind Ald. Anthony Beale’s ordinance.

We know our side, but we need to hear from them explaining why they have taken steps to prevent something that has had a positive effect on the city. Both Uber drivers and its riders have benefited from Uber.  Even businesses have taken to use Uber providing company accounts for employees.  It’s more feasible and dependable in terms of time accountability. Where you may wait on a taxi for 20 minutes  Uber usually arrives within 5 minutes.

I use Uber daily and am amazed at the numerous ways in which Uber has made a difference in their lives, and I ask each and every one of them, “So how long have you been working for Uber, and is it working for you?”

Each driver, whether they be a student, the mother or father driver who earn extra money to supplement their income; or the career individual in between jobs who can earn money, pay their bills and go on an interview without being docked; or the mother of young children who doesn’t have to explain to the boss why she has to leave early to go attend to a sick child; or the retiree who is excited about getting out of the house meeting interesting people and earning cash; the father who drives to pay off the vacation bill from last winter’s getaway trip, and finally the full-time driver who likes the independence of the work.

These people make up the work force in Chicago and have found a means to manage their lives, pay their bills and take care of their families while maintaining their self-esteem. They’re not standing in line seeking a handout or standing on the corner begging for a dollar. They are not robbing banks, breaking into stores or robbing others.

They are making the best of life as they face challenges, and given the choice, they chose Uber. They have improved the accessibility of transportation for many on the West and South sides of Chicago, where taxis would not come. Too many of us have stories that we can tell how we called a taxi, were told a taxi would be on the way only to wait an hour, sometimes more before we call back and ask the status and are old they’re still trying to locate one. Or that it’s not coming. What about when you hail a taxi downtown and they tell you they can’t take you?

Enough Regulations Already But I will say this: You can’t say that you’re about the people when you’re taking steps to hurt the people. Chicago’s regulations for ridesharing require background checks, vehicle inspections and extensive data reporting. In fact, the requirements in Chicago are among the most robust in the nation, with many requirements going well beyond that of taxis.

For example, ridesharing rules require $1 million of commercial insurance coverage for riders and drivers during a trip, nearly 3 times the requirement for taxis. So what’s the problem? We need to know. Recently, the Chicago Defender had the opportunity to sit down with Uber’s Chicago General Manager Marco McCottry, who provided greater insight to the issue on the table.

According to this articulate Black man, it saddens him that rideshaing as we have come to experience it may have to shut down because he knows what sacrifice looks like. His own father works in a forging factory in Cleveland, Ohio. He watched him get home from his shift, take a brief nap, and then wake up at 1 every morning to go to his second job so that he could have money to pay for food and books when he went to college. He said he couldn’t help but think what life would have looked like if his father had had Uber as a choice.

Today, Uber can boast that more than half of its drivers in Chicago come from the South or West sides, where violence often stifles progress and there is a lack of economic opportunity. I believe as he does that ridesharing can help be part of the solution, because ridesharing creates a flexible income source for people to earn money on their own time, whether it’s to pay the bills, go to college, or save for vacation. Uber gives people the power to work on demand.

If you are an Uber user or Uber driver, call your alderman at 312-744-3082 to voice your demand or go online and email them

Co-Sponsors of Ald. Beale’s Proposal

• Anthony Beale

• Pat Dowell

• Brian Hopkins

• Deborah Mell

• Ariel Reboyras

• Chris Taliaferro

• Roberto Maldonado

• Walter Burnett Jr.

• Carrie Austin

• Carlos Ramirez-Rosa

• Scott Waguespack

• Milagros S. Santiago

• Anthony V. Napolitano

• Derrick Curtis

• David Moore

• Ricardo Munoz

• Toni Foulkes

• Nicholas Sposato

• James Cappleman

• Ameya Pawar

• Susan Sadlowski Garza

• Patrick D. Thompson

• Matthew O’Shea

• Willie Cochran

• Howard Brookins, Jr.

• John Arena

• Michael Scott Jr.

• Raymond A. Lopez

• Tom Tunney

• Edward M. Burke

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