The City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) today announced the launch of a citywide competition to find ‘Chicago’s Top Cabbie.’ The public can now nominate their favorite taxicab driver through 3-1-1 beginning today through July 20, 2016 and are encouraged to use social media to spread the word using #ChiTopCabbie.
“This contest will encourage exemplary service from taxicab drivers across the city,” said BACP Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek. “The financial freedom of the top prize – a free medallion - is a game-changer and I look forward to presenting it to Chicago’s top cabbie.”
The competition is designed to reward a licensed public chauffeur for their heroism and/or top-notch customer service and is open to all 12,000 public chauffeurs licensed by the city.
At the end of the two month nomination process, each nominee’s credentials will be verified by the BACP. The top finalists and their stories will be posted online at www.chitopcabbie.com for voting. The voting period will last 14 days and will be open to the public. The first place prize is a free taxicab medallion for life.
BACP is promoting this contest through a handful of municipal digital billboards, through the two CHICABS apps, Curb and Arro, as well as on social media.
An ordinance introduced in City Council earlier this year created the competition with the top prize of a free taxicab medallion. The contest is looking to build on the success of the Taxicab Driver Excellence Award, which recognizes taxicab drivers who serve the disabled community.
The Emanuel administration has made a number of reforms to increase taxicab driver income, drive industry innovation, and improve taxicab driver experience. The reforms enacted include: offering universal taxi smartphone app service with Arro and Curb; enacting a 15 percent taxi fare increase that will increase average taxi driver income by $4,000 to $10,000 annually; requiring that taxicabowners share paid exterior adverting revenue with the taxicab drivers; introducing a $50 late fee payable to taxi drivers when taxi companies fail to “pay-out” credit card fare payments within one business day; reducing the credit card transaction fee; reducing lease rate caps for taxi drivers; extending vehicle age requirements for fuel efficient vehicles by increasing their allowed life cycle to seven years; and reducing fines for which a taxi driver can be cited.
BACP oversees the licensing of Chicago’s public chauffeurs and public vehicles including taxicabs, transportation network providers, liveries, charter and site seeing buses, horse drawn carriages, ambulances, water taxis and tour boats. The department oversees the purchasing of taxicab medallions, vehicle inspections and rates of fare. Learn more about BACP’s Public Vehicle Operations at www.cityofchicago.org/BACP.