Comedy and tragedy in the life of a cabdriver

By Steve Kim - Posted on 15 July 2008

Unanswered Questions

A few months ago, I was sent to pick up a fare from Terminal 1 at O’Hare Airport. I picked up a woman with two children and lots of bags. She wanted to go the Economy Parking Lot- as we got there, she asked to be dropped of inside the gated area.

At this point the Standard Parking cashier who was at the gate gave me a ticket to go in, and I dropped her off earning a $6.80 fare. I was inside the gated area all of 2 minutes and 30 seconds- but as I left the lot, the Standard Parking staff asked me to pay $4 entrance fee for going into the lot. I was shocked- how can a public vehicle, providing transportation within O’Hare be charged in this way? Do the shuttle buses get charged the same way?

I tried to argue with Standard Parking cashier, and even asked her to call the manager- which she did. However, the manager confirmed for her that “all taxis have to pay too, whether they are dropping a customer, or not.” So after 2 hours of waiting and a $6.80 minus $4- only $2.80! Unbelievable!

This incident raised a lot of unanswered questions for me, and I am sure for many of you: How can I get my customer to reimburse the parking fee if I have to pay on the way out?

Does the City of Chicago’s contract with Standard Parking permit them to charge for public vehicles (i.e., taxis) who are dropping customers inside their facility? Isn’t there a law in the City of Chicago, that within 5 min, private parking lots cannot charge money? My trip inside the lot lasted exactly 2 minutes and 30 seconds; why did they charge me?

If I pay the $2 MPEA tax, doesn’t that mean I can travel within the Airport without paying again? Can they charge me again? If I do not get reimbursed from the customer for service to the economy lot, can I refuse service without incurring a penalty?

Issues such as this one are such an awful burden to all taxi drivers, and it seems like there is no way to explain them to customers, let alone anybody outside the industry. The only people who do understand is the City of Chicago! But the fact that they won’t answer it- this is the real tragedy!