Cab drivers aren't too happy with Mayor Rahm Emanuel these days. In the past year, he's loosened regulations on ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft, allowing them to make pickups at the city's airports at rates that are already significantly cheaper than those of taxis.
But it looks like the mayor is trying to make it up to the roughly 12,000 public chauffeurs in Chicago by launching a contest to determine the city's "Top Taxicab Driver." Members of the public can nominate their favorite cabbies (because everyone has one of those?) by calling 311 or visiting a city website that's in the works. From there, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) staff will select the finalists, and the winner will be determined through online voting.
The winner will receive a taxicab medallion, which is worth more than $250,000.
“The goal of this contest is to spark industry-wide pride from all taxicab drivers, so residents and visitors of Chicago have safe, enjoyable and memorable cab rides,” said BACP Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek in a press release.
The release also noted that the Emanuel Administration has taken several steps to support the city's cab drivers, most recently by increasing taxi fares by 15 percent at the start of the year, which definitely makes taking a cab sound more appealing than an Uber (not). Nevertheless, the contest is a pretty big deal for cabbies in the city, especially with such a huge prize at stake. But we'd rather have the selection process look more like The Dating Game with Rahm as the bachelorette than online voting and deliberation by bureaucrats.