To the Editor:
In his article “NIU students present plans to improve downtown DeKalb” (page 9, April 25), Drew Zimmerman quotes Chris Jackson, identified as a “DeKalb management intern,” as saying the “... city staff are working to improve Uber service in the area ... .”
This is exactly the opposite of what should be happening.
DeKalb city code has provisions, very strictly enforced on registered businesses, to protect passengers in ride-for-hire vehicles: The vehicle must carry LY, TX or PT plates; the vehicle must carry $500,000 in commercial liability insurance; the vehicle must have an annual inspection by a certified mechanic, and another by the police department, to insure its safety, and must have company identification, fare schedule, and other signage displayed; the operator must purchase an annual city business license; each driver must pass a fingerprint background check and motor vehicle record check to receive a DeKalb taxi driver’s license – all of this adds cost to doing business, but all is reasonable regulation, as it goes a long way to making the DeKalb taxi industry safe and reliable.
While these regulations are, as I said, strictly enforced for legitimate taxi businesses, they – and their attendant costs – are not applied to Uber, which is in every way a taxi service.
Instead of working to undermine DeKalb businesses, the city staff should be directing their efforts toward finding these taxis operating outside the law and forcing them to either cease operation or comply with the same requirements that professional taxis gladly meet for the well-being of their passengers.