The city is facing an influx of riders seeking rides.
In 2016, the city saw a record 2.3 million rides, with over 5 million of them in the morning rush hour, according to a 2016 survey by the Chicago Department of Transportation.
But for riders who can’t make it in the evening rush hour because of traffic or congestion, the numbers can get grim.
For one of those riders, a 22-year-old man from the Chicago suburb of Oak Park who goes by the name Kari, it’s not so bad.
He said he spends about 20 hours a week driving in and out of Chicago.
But that’s because he’s a dedicated driver, one who has the time and patience to spend hours on his phone to look up and see what routes are available, he said.
When he first got his license, he had to get a permit from the city and pay $400 to get it, he explained.
He bought a motorcycle, which he keeps as a means to commute.
“I’m not even paying for gas,” he said, “because I don’t have any.”
But as his commute to and from work got more and more busy, the license plate on his bike was getting more and longer, so he had the option to get rid of it.
It’s not a decision he’d made lightly, he admitted.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a license plate change,” he explained, but he knows he has to.
“That’s just the way it is.
And you know what?
I’ve got a plan to change it.”
So far, Kari has taken a few rides, but for the most part he says he’s only done it twice in his life.
When he finally gets around to driving in the city on a regular basis, he’s taking more frequent rides because he can’t afford to get stuck behind someone who drives a rental vehicle.
He said the fact that he doesn’t drive a rental car makes him less likely to get into a crash.
“You don’t want to be behind someone driving a rental,” he explains, “unless you’re really good at it.”
For Kari’s mother, however, the biggest problem is the perception that there’s not enough money in the system.
“If I see people getting tickets for $60 and a couple hundred for $40,” she said, “…
I just think, wow, that’s not right.
It’s not fair to people who have a disability.”
In 2016, more than 20,000 people received tickets in the first quarter for driving with a disability, according the Department of Revenue.
That number could grow as the city has expanded the number of licensed drivers.
And while that means there are more tickets issued than in any other quarter since 2007, Kami’s mother is not the only person who believes that the number is too high.
“The problem is that people don’t know the rules,” she added.
“They just assume that they have to be licensed.”
Kari has heard the concerns, and he’s seen them firsthand.
When the number for his license plate went up, he went back to the DMV, but was told that he’d have to pay another $100 to get his license back.
“We’ve got to make sure people are aware of that,” Kari said, before realizing that he could just pay the $100 and get the license back, but it would not affect his driving.
Kari said he feels like he’s living in a bubble, where he doesn, in fact, have a license.
But that’s the reality for many people, even if they don’t realize it.
“A lot of people don’st realize that it takes two to drive a car,” Kami said.
“A lot don’t even realize that a $100 ticket can cost you your license.”
For now, KARI is trying to get out of the city of Chicago and work toward a more livable life in another city.
“It’s something I have to do,” he added.
“People don’t really understand what that’s like.
It can be hard.”