November 18, 2014

Chicago Issues First Two Transportation Network Provider (Rideshare) Licenses to Sidecar and Lyft

City of Chicago Ordinance Regulates Surge Pricing and Establishes Common Sense Requirements for Background Checks, Training and Inspections

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) announced today that BACP has issued the first two Transportation Network Provider (TNP) licenses to the San Francisco-based companies Sidecar and Lyft. Chicago is one of the first major metropolitan areas to issue TNP licenses.

“Working with industry stakeholders and Aldermen, we passed sensible regulations to support innovation in this industry and ensure the safety of passengers. Today, we are taking the next step in helping this industry to evolve, creating new jobs and providing new transit options for Chicago’s resident and visitors,” said Mayor Emanuel.

This past May, the City Council passed Mayor Emanuel’s TNP ordinance, which establishes a licensing and regulatory framework for the industry. The ordinance focuses on safe rides for all residents and visitors by requiring TNP companies, also referred to as a rideshare company, to get licensed, conduct background checks, train affiliated drivers, inspect affiliated vehicles, and obtain insurance.

The ordinance also protects consumers by regulating surge pricing, requiring that 311 information be included on rideshare apps, and directing rideshares to clearly identify affiliated vehicles and drivers.

“The rideshare industry has offered Chicago residents with more options for transportation and the City’s ordinance has given us the tools we need to ensure that riders are safe,” said Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. “We look forward to working with the rideshare companies going forward to ensure that Chicago riders receive the best possible service.”

A TNP company provides prearranged transportation services for compensation through an Internet-enabled application or digital platform to connect passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire. Drivers and their vehicles join and become affiliated with TNP companies and are then available to be dispatched through the TNP’s digital platform. Each TNP company must be licensed by the City of Chicago, which is not transferable. It is an annual license with two license classes based on the company wide hour average for hours drivers are on the road: Class A license for companies whose drivers driving less than 20 hours or Class B for companies whose drivers drive more than 20 hours. TNP companies may obtain either a Class A or Class B TNP license.

BACP oversees the licensing of Chicago’s public chauffeurs and public vehicles including TNPs, taxicabs, liveries, charter and site seeing buses, horse drawn carriages, ambulances, water taxis and tour boats. The department also oversees the purchasing of taxicab medallions, vehicle inspections and rates of fare. Learn more about BACP at