What is the Pink?

Imagine you’re playing cards at a poker table. There are three other boys sitting with you. Their names are Flash Cab, King Drive, and Globe Taxi. Your name is Yellow Cab, so you fit right in. The dealer is tossing out the cards. Everyone is thinking about their hand and throwing in their blue-chip medallions to bed or fold. The crew is about to show ‘em high when a pink moustached gentleman frantically pulls up a stool. “The name’s Rideshare” he smirks. “I’m all in.” He decks out the cards he clearly drew from his own pocket. He wins the round. He takes all the chips without having to pay any. The boys look at each other like he’s joking. He walks away soberly. The players shoot the dealer a look for some authority. He shrugs, “sorry, new market, new rules.”

My name is Mr. Bohemian. I will help you recognize what pretentiousness looks like.

Why won’t the taxi industry just die already? They’re just throwing a tantrum because a more sophisticated, convenient, and sexy new player now runs the streets.
— The Customer

This is the typical response from customers who utilize rideshare on a routine basis. Many think the taximan is cranky, corrupt, and not able to lose to a fair competition. It is ironic, because the substantiation of rideshare begins on a biased scale. See our shopping list.


Taxi Shopping List

  1. Ground Tax $900 per year 
  2. Medallion Renewal $500 per year
  3. Affiliation fee $100-$348 per month
  4. Insurance $250 per month
  5. Worker’s Comp approx. $150 per month 
  6. TX plates, city stickers, live camera, passenger safety partition, electronics installation, meter equipment, city inspections, the king's decree, chauffeur classes per driver, and much more!

Rideshare Shopping List

  1. One pink moustache
  2. A sexy personality
  3. Your mom’s van
  4. A phone
  5. 98.6 degree F body temp

One taxi medallion = $300,000 pre Rahm Emanuel

One pink moustache = $0.00 + tax


The metal disk you see on the hood of every taxi vehicle is called a medallion. It permits the taxi to chauffeur citizens in Chicago. It is the industry’s stock and trade. It costs money. The value of the object comes from the city’s appropriate manipulation. In the past, the city has put a cap on the number of medallions released to the public, thereby creating a limit on vehicles in service. This tactic was used to dampen and direct a wild west taxi industry during and after the Great Depression. This cap also generated a supply and demand value for the medallion.

Now that you understand our blue chip, what’s up with the Pink one? Simply put, rideshare is not a taxi service by stinky affirmation. It’s sharing the ride, baby. Transactions be damned. By escaping the definition of taxi service, they escape its military regulations as well. It excuses itself as a new market, only to participate in the same one. It enjoys all the benefits of contradiction while still demanding to be treated equally.

  Customers have a fair request. They want a faster service. Long story short, Uber and Lyft filled that technology gap. But this is where lawmakers and customers alike get bamboozled. Does having a convenient feature grant you the free license to operate? If I have a convenient way to deliver alcohol to customers via flying drone, does that mean I do not need a liquor license? If I have a pink moustache on my vehicle, does that mean I don’t need a $300,000 medallion? 

Moustache! = Medallion?

chips.jpg

The Joyless Drivers

As an artist with a day job, I work every day with the wheels that keep the Chicago commute moving. What is the major attribute of rideshare’s sweeping domination? Taxi drivers are simple people. Where in the world is that not true? These drivers are so joe, their names might as well be Joe. Muslims, Christians, Somalians, Italians, old, young, handicapped, West Side, South Side, Rahm Emanuel can only pretend on his election day that he is distributing diversity through rideshare. Every day I print these drivers their leases, and occasionally they small talk behind me. They discuss how their treasure maps have been outdated as city hotspots have been granting egalitarian rights to rideshare, such as pick-ups at hotels and O’hare airport. They’ll say, “Remember when we used to have treasure chests? Today, I barely grabbed a fistful of doubloons.”


How can we shrink the Pink?

  1. Uninstall your rideshare apps. The apps Curb and Arro are taxi alternatives.
  2. Warn the others about the Pink.
  3. Sign the online petition.
  4. Vote, blog, share, and care.

Rideshare’s strut through the streets in its burlesque glory is a new low standard in citizen apathy. By letting the Pink drive freely, we all commit to a city-wide bystander effect. Think, speak, and act. My personal formula for free thinking is this: if you think about things, rather than what you’re told, you’ll know about things, rather than what you’re told. What is rideshare? Is it new? What would be left if I shaved that pink moustache off?