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. They 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.
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 competitor. It is ironic, because the substantiation of rideshare begins on a biased scale. See our shopping list.
Taxi Shopping List
- Ground Tax $900 per year
- Medallion Renewal $500 per year
- Affiliation fee $100-$348 per month
- Insurance $250 per month
- Worker’s Comp approx. $150 per month
- 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
- One pink moustache
- A sexy personality
- Your mom’s van
- A smartphone
- 98.6 degree F body temp
One Chicago taxi medallion = $300,000
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 around 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.
Now that you understand the taxi's blue chip, what’s up with the pink one? Simply put, rideshare is not a taxi service by legislative endorsement. It’s sharing the ride, baby. Transactions be damned. By escaping the definition of taxi service, rideshare escapes its regulations as well. Through this sexy loophole rideshare may excuse itself as a new market, only to participate in the same one. This circumvention allows them to draw from the taxi's customer demographic without equal burden.
Customers have a fair request. They prefer a faster service. Uber and Lyft may have popularized the smartphone dispatch, but the point of deception to note is that smartphone dispatch technology alone cannot entitle one the expensive privilege to operate vehicle technology. Their broad definition as a technology company serves them well. 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 do not need a $300,000 medallion to pick up customers?
Moustache = Medallion?
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, Nigerians, old, young, handicapped, West Side, South Side, the pro-rideshare lobbyists can only pretend that they are distributing diversity and opportunity 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. City hotspots have granted coexistent rights to rideshare at pick-up lanes 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?
- Uninstall your rideshare apps. The apps Curb and Arro are taxi alternatives.
- Warn the others about the Pink.
- Sign the online petition.
- Vote, blog, share, and care.
- Are you a taxi driver with a story to share? Click here to submit.
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. 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?