CITY OF CHICAGO ‘RESPECT YOUR TAXI DRIVER’ CAMPAIGN REMINDS BATTERY OF A TAXICAB DRIVER IS A CLASS 3 FELONY
Aims to Keep Drivers Safe and Call Attention to the Consequences of Violence Towards Taxi Drivers
July 9, 2015
Director of Public Information
Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection
“Be Polite, Not Violent – Respect Your Taxi Driver!” is a new campaign by the City of Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP). The campaign is geared toward keeping Chicago’s public chauffeurs safe while working and reminding passengers that battery of an on-duty taxicab driver is a class three felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.
“This campaign is intended to remind passengers that Chicago’s public chauffeurs deserve respect, and there is no reason for violence,” said BACP Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek. “If an issue arises, passengers should report it to BACP by calling 311 and not by taking the law into their own hands.”
The ‘Respect Your Taxi Driver’ campaign includes six infographics BACP is sharing on its social media sites, website, e-newsletters, and is producing an educational video to be shared on multi-media sites. The department is encouraging other City departments, aldermen, and community partners to share the message so all residents and visitors are aware of the law. Here is a link to the infographics: http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/bacp/supp_info/ridesmartchicago.html
The campaign is the result of a recent criminal case involving the alleged battery and theft of longtime taxicab driver Henry Rone, who was assaulted by a passenger who tried to walk away from his cab without paying. A criminal complaint filed in Cook County alleged when Rone approached the passenger she slapped him in the face, which caused his glasses to break and fall to the ground.
“We are hardworking people, trying to do our jobs to the best of our ability,” said Rone, who drives his taxi 12 hour days and works six days a week. “Every day you step out of your house to drive and you worry a little and think, ‘what might happen today?’ Riders should know there is a consequence for doing something to the driver. It will give us more respect.”
Rone said he is proud of the service he offers to Chicago residents and its millions of visitors. Several of his passengers have called 311 to compliment his services. One person called him the “safest cab driver ever,” and another compliment said he “was very courteous” and said “This is the best experience the caller has ever had in a cab.” A third compliment was a letter of appreciation from a passenger who accidentally left their wallet in Rone’s taxicab and was happy to have it returned the same day. The letter said “I respect his honesty and integrity.”
BACP oversees the licensing of Chicago’s public chauffeurs and public vehicles including taxicabs, liveries, charter and site seeing buses, horse drawn carriages, ambulances, water taxis and tour boats. The department oversees the purchasing of taxicab medallions, vehicle inspections and rates of fare. Learn more about BACP’s Public Vehicle Operations at www.cityofchicago.org/BACP.