May 4, 2015

Mayor Emanuel Takes Action to Help Chicago Become First City with Universal Taxi App

Chicago launches competitive selection process to provide an app that will allow users to hail a taxi on a smartphone

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, through the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), today launched a competitive selection process for a universal taxi smartphone app that will include every taxi in the City of Chicago. The app will improve rider experience and increase customer access to taxis throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods.

“Technology knows no boundaries and with the universal taxi app Chicago residents stand to benefit,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Residents from all across Chicago will be able to request a ride and be connected to a nearby taxi with the click of a button.”

“This app will be a win for the taxi industry, who can remain competitive, and for passengers, who will reap the benefits with premium service,” said Maria Guerra Lapacek, Commissioner of BACP. “It will allow customers to find a taxi more efficiently, without having to make an advance reservation or wait on a busy street corner.”

The universal taxi app will allow residents to connect to licensed taxis using their smartphones. All licensed taxicab drivers will be required to use the universal app while on duty. The City will select one or more companies through a competitive bidding process to serve as the provider of the universal app.

Respondents who submit a successful proposal will be required to maintain a number of high standards to ensure customers receive the best service possible. The app will provide features like a secure electronic payment option, an estimated wait time, and a fare quote, all of which will allow customers to make informed decisions when requesting a ride.

This new service will increase customer access to all licensed taxis across the City of Chicago, especially in historically underserved communities where residents have difficulty finding a ride. Chicagoans across the City stand to benefit as this technology will allow for the rapid dispatch of safe, reliable transportation to neighborhoods that are not typically populated with taxis.

To further improve customer accessibility to the service, the City encourages bidders for universal taxi app to propose a phone dispatch component in addition to the smartphone app. The service must be made accessible to and usable by those who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing.

A pre-proposal conference will be held on May 15th, 2015 at 3:00PM at 121 N Lasalle Street, City Hall Room 805 for potential bidders for the Universal Taxi Application RFP. Attendance is not mandatory, but encouraged. More information about the bidding process can be found at

Today, BACP also launched a competitive bidding process for a Centralized Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle Taxi Dispatch Service. Interested parties can find out more at

BACP oversees the licensing of Chicago’s public chauffeurs and public vehicles including taxicabs, 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