Good Luck Getting A Cab To The South Side: Why Discriminatory Cab Drivers Have Got To Go

Dear Discriminatory Cab Drivers of Chicago,

Consider this your official notice that I will not tolerate your foolishness any longer.

Because your behavior on Friday night really took the cake.

Living on the south side for 11 years, I'm fully aware that you don't want to go too far south of Cermak.  I get it, I really do.

I know that your job is dangerous.

I know that gas is expensive.

I know that going to an area that isn't rife with potential fares cuts down on your earning power.

I know that despite the laws that say it's illegal to do so, you turn away customers based on their destination.

I know it to be true because it happened to me twice on Friday night/Saturday morning.

I should have known better than to stay out too late.  The 6 Jackson Park stopped running and in all honesty, I thought I could catch the last one home to the south side.

Hailing a cab in the chilly rain was no problem.  Getting the drivers to take me to Woodlawn was.

And you know what the worst part of the discrimination was?  The excuses.  As if it's not bad enough to strand a single woman on a city street at 1:00 AM, must you insult my intelligence?

Gentlemen, really?

The first driver, said that he was low on gas upon hearing the address of my destination.

If his fuel tank were that big of a problem, perhaps he should of re-fueled before he picked up a fare.  But you know what, I was game.  I wanted to see how far he was willing to take this.

I just told him I just wanted to go home.  He reiterated that he had no gas.

I said, "No problem.  There's a gas station on Roosevelt and Wabash.  You can gas up there."

But if he thought I was going to pay the metered rate for him to drive there and get gas, he was crazy.

He wasn't willing to turn off the meter to drive and get gas, I wasn't willing to pay for the privilege of him driving to fill up to take me home.

I recorded his cab company affiliation and cab number amid protests of "starting trouble for him" and got out of his cab.

A few minutes later I hailed another cab.

When I gave my destination address, the driver announced that he was  "off duty."

It was everything I could do not to roll my eyes at that whopper of a tale.

You hear a south side address and all of a sudden you're "off duty."

I was worn out and wanted to go home, I didn't even argue.  Once again I recorded his information and got out of the cab.

Naturally, I will start the process of filing a complaint against these gentlemen in short order.

But let it be known discriminatory cab drivers that I'm sick of your crap.

And I will report you each and every time you break the law with respect to taking me to my destination.

All I want to do is go home.  You signed up for a job to do just that.  If you don't want to adhere to the laws governing taxis in the City of Chicago, I suggest you find another line of work.

Because I have yet to file my complaint, I'm keeping the cab company's name and the cab numbers out of this post.

The City hasn't made a determination so in their eyes, you're innocent until found guilty.

But we both know what you did and why you did it but an official finding is for the City of Chicago to decide.

But I will tell you this.

I've filed several complaints against drivers over the years and have yet to lose an administrative hearing.

Take that into consideration the next time you passive aggressively refuse a south side fare.


Woodlawn Wonder


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  • The *very first* time I flew to Chicago when I moved here in 1986, I flagged a cab at the airport. When I told the cabbie my south-side destination he said to me, "You're lucky you got here in the afternoon. Nobody'd take you there at night." Good luck with your complaints, WW. We need it--26 years later and nothing's changed.

  • I think driver Vladamir Noserosky LLC is more concerned about getting a bullet in the head than an administrative fine. I picked that name arbitrarily, but if you look at the side of a suburban cab, it says that someone like that owns it.

    Since even the cab drivers in Chicago are not employees, but lease cabs, I'm sure they can buy a Scion (and they do) and ply their trade in an area that "does not have Chicago gasoline taxes." They claim they aren't making money in Chicago as it is.

    Even in Evanston, the odds are less that they are going to be robbed, carjacked, or shot.

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