Fake Uber, Lyft drivers risk jail time and big fines under new city ordinance

The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance Wednesday that would make posing as a ride-hail service driver punishable by a five-figure fine and up to 180 days in jail.

The move came just days after police say three Wisconsin women violently beat and robbed a Lincoln Park man who got into their car thinking it was an Uber.

Police have repeatedly issued community alerts to warn people about how to use ride-hail services safely, particularly in the city’s nightlife districts where robbery crews frequently lure in victims by posing as Uber and Lyft vehicles.

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Alderman Brendan Reilly (42), whose ward includes the bar-laden River North neighborhood, has been pushing the legislation for over a year.

“Part of my job is giving CPD the tools they need,” Reilly tweeted in defense of the ordinance on Feb. 7. “They asked for this, so they got it.”

Violators of the new ordinance would face fines of $10,000 to $20,000 per offense and the possibility of up to 180 days in jail.

But Reilly wants to toughen the ordinance by giving police the authority to impound vehicles that are used by accused impersonators.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com