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City study paints rosier picture of cabbies’ wages than drivers do

Chicago taxi overhaul could be way. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

Chicago taxi overhaul could be on the way. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: September 30, 2014 6:20AM

The average Chicago cabdriver earns $12.14-an-hour and $33,857-a-year after expenses, according to a city consulting study that, an influential alderman said Thursday, could set the stage for the city’s first fare hike in nearly 10 years.

Chicago cabdrivers have produced a series of studies to highlight their financial plight and build momentum for their drive to unionize to bolster their clout.

One cabdriver study claimed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s overhaul of the taxicab industry has snatched $7,531 a year out of the average cabdriver’s pocket, dropping annual income to $20,234 or just $5.40-an-hour.

Another claimed that half of Chicago cabdrivers are earning less than the state’s $8.25-an-hour minimum wage — and more than 10 percent are losing money — in a taxi industry that’s generating $30 million in annual city revenue.

On Thursday, City Hall produced its own, more comprehensive study of cabbie incomes, and it paints a somewhat rosier picture — though the $12.14 average hourly pay figure is lower than the $13-an-hour city minimum wage Emanuel supports.


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