An advocacy group representing some city cab drivers is calling for a five-hour strike Monday morning -- the second such action this month in a fight for higher fares.
The United Taxi Drivers Community Council said thousands of cab drivers went on strike from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. July 2 to highlight their frustration with new regulations that raised the rates drivers pay to lease vehicles without allowing a fare increase to offset the expenses.
On Friday, the UTCC announced a second action, which they call "Strike 2," will begin at 6 a.m. Monday and last until 11 a.m.
"It's premature to ask the public to pay more for a ride until we've done everything we possibly can to improve the taxi industry," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "This new ordinance is a solid first step and over time will demonstrate tremendous value to drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike."
After the first strike, city officials said cab riders saw no disruption in services and disagreed with the claims that thousands of cabs were idled. The airports reported normal service and the city did not receive any 311 calls about problems hailing a cab.
At issue is the lease-rate system, which mandates drivers pay between $595 to $707 to rent a cab for a week -- with costlier rates applying to newer, more-fuel-efficient cars. The new rates went into effect July 1. On less-fuel-efficient cabs, the rate only went up $2, the first increase since 1998.
Chicago cab fares have been frozen since an 11.7 percent increase imposed by the City Council in 2005.
"We want fare rates increased 22 percent," cab driver spokesman Michael McConnell said. "There hasn't been a fare increase since 2005, and with cost of living, gas having gone up ... and now these lease increases are the straw that broke the camels back," he said.
The city announced Friday that its transportation committee will have a fare increase hearing July 31. Drivers said a hearing alone will not be enough.
In January, the city made its on-again-off-again $1 fuel surcharge a permanent part of the cost of entering a cab. Rosemary Krimbel, commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, warned at the time that the new $3.25 flag pull "does not necessarily give the drivers a fare increase."
That change was not enough to appease many cabbies, who claim the money doesn't help them financially and goes to gas stations.