I never knew that it wasn’t normal for a cab to come into certain neighborhoods. I grew up believing that cabs are only for airports and hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago. I had no clue back in the day that I could never get a cab and or see a cab in my neighborhood because it was “urban.” I live in the Austin community and before ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber came along, I was straight out of luck if I needed a ride somewhere quickly. My only option would be a low budget shuffle of cigar smoking grandfathers sick of sitting at home that decided to drive folks around town under the name of Sure Way Livery transportation services. What’s a Livery?
Oh, do I have stories about them and their unique customer service. Have you ever called a cab and they come to pick you up and after you get in they tell you to pay them upfront so that they can stop for gas? That happens with Sure Way Livery. Have you ever called a cab and while you’re en route to your destination they stop by their cousin Ray Ray’s house to pick up a plate of BarBQue ? That happens with Sure Way Livery. I thought such things were normal as a child/teen and even a yound adult and it took me leaving “the hood” to realize the difference with customer service outside of “the hood.”. I literally live in a transportation desert.
Lyft and Uber were life savers for me. I was able to have access to service at any point in time as needed. As an on-call flight attendant, that was crucial. I would’ve had to spend the night in an airport or a bus/train station numerous times if it weren’t for Uber because most companies do NOT service my area. I remember getting in a cab outside of what used to be Shrine nightclub and telling the driver to just head North because I didn’t know if I was heading to my house or my boyfriend’s house. Once I realized that I was heading home, I told him where I was going and he pulled over and let me out. He refused to take me home. I was shocked. That doesn’t happen with Uber or Lyft. I wish I would’ve known how deprived not only myself but my community was sooner. I would’ve worked harder to raise awareness about this issue.
But the fate of Uber and Lyft are in jeopardy. Laws that require a more in-depth screening process, price regulations and more may force one or both companies to chuck the Windy City the duces. Not only would that drastically hurt our economy by displacing the thousands of drivers relying on Uber and Lyft as their full-time form of employment- it would cripple urban communities once again. Considering the fact that most Uber drivers are products of such urban communities, I’d assume they’d be hit twice as hard. I wish the city and lawmakers overall would stop trying to deflate the small things that offer the “little” people more opportunities and focus on the big issues that are bulldozing the strength and very infrastructure of the city as a whole. I wish I would’ve known how deprived and isolated I was prior to ridesharing. How has Uber and or Lyft changed your life?