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Thread: Chicago + Illinois licensing of vehicles

  1. #1

    Default Chicago + Illinois licensing of vehicles

    I'm pretty handy with reading statutes and I have a question for anyone who may be able to help.

    I understand that taxicabs have to be a certain age (usually no more than 4 years old) and I also understand that livery vehicles must be "clean, safe" etc. I noticed that the list of approved vehicles includes "taxi or livery" vehicles and lists Lincoln Town cars etc but not limousines.

    Knowing that the city classifies vehicles as either 1) cars or 2) sightseeing vehicles/bus, I assume that a 10 passenger limo is a sightseeing bus and a Lincoln Town car is a car, but what is a limo.

    As I read the statute it appears that no limos are legal in the city of Chicago as they don't appear on the approved vehicle list.

    My question is this: what is the acceptable age/miles on a new limousine?

    Please help! I'd really appreciate it. The health care bill is easier to figure out than this!

  2. #2
    Senior Member BLVD Limo's Avatar
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    I'm not from the Chicagoland area, so I am stepping out onto a limb when I say this, but I am willing to bet there aren't any full-size SUVs on that list either. Typical definition, as defined by law makers, used for a livery vehicle includes a total occupant capacity of 6 people, including the driver, or less. Most stretch limousines have higher seating capacities.
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  3. #3

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    I understand your concerns...the city of Chicago is very picky on things, but a limousine is permitted pending you have the proper registration and documentation showing in the front windshield. You will need to register with the Chicago Dept. of Revenue and obtain an MPEA permit.

    The secretary of state on the north side state that a limousine is acceptable if it is in working and clean condition. You cannot be driving a limo with bumpers damaged. Body damage is not permitted to be easily observed. The question that you had regarding the model is this...the statement regarding Town Car includes the limousine, as the vehicle is a factory Lincoln in the back, and in the front.

    To answer your question in one sentence...a limousine can have many miles and be of any age (that I have been told) as long as the vehicle is in good mechanical and cosmetic condition.

  4. #4

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    In the City of Chicago, a livery vehicle can not be older than 5 years (w/1 year extension), must have a QVM issued by a certified coach builder, valid safety inspection, and valid commerial insurance policy. And of course, you pay daily tax if you pick-up from O'hare & Midway airport (on top of $2 stamp).

    Most of the stretch limos in the city are lincolns 120" extension. Bigger limos such as big SUV limos including Hummer limos, Excursions, etc are all PT plated (Public Transportation).

    Good luck with City of Chicago Consumer Services

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  5. #5

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    Thank you I'm sure they're charming. After 5 years of political campaign consulting, and having people basically throw themselves at me with resumes even after telling them I had absolutely no authority or standing to hire or assist in the hiring process, I can attest to the quality of information being given out by these people. (I did not work campaigns in Illinois, personal disclaimer)

    Jurisdictionally, it seems a bit much for Chicago to say, "if you drop someone off at the Sheraton on Columbus here in Chicago, then you better have a 2005 or better limo and be a Chicago chauffeur." Is that really the case? And what are the requirements for a limo, say, never leaving the town of Aurora. Are their age requirements. The statute (and Chicago muni code) only references cleanliness and free of damage.

    Hopefully I can call around and get this information tomorrow but any additional info from you all would be really nice.

    Thanks for all the replies and your interest.

  6. #6

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    Please do reply back tomorrow and let us know if you hear of something different. The thread above stating no vehicle more than 5 yrs old is news to me. If that is indeed true....there are quite a few rule breakers out there. Its easy to tell by the fron nose on Lincolns.

    Let us know what you find out. I personally am in the same boat of info. as you....as long as the vehicle is in good working and cosmetic condition, there should be no issue.

  7. #7

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    Wanted to get back with you Reiter, and anyone else who had been following this link.

    I know this is probably rehashing for many of you who know this already but the information is so hard to find and believe it or not things change rapidly in government so I'm hoping this will be helpful to some folks out there.

    I've gotten this information from the city of Chicago, State of Illinois, a very helpful member of the IL Limo Association and various readings of statutes and municipal codes. Please do your own research and check my facts, do not rely on this, use only as a helpful guideline.

    1) the IL commerce dept doesn't regulate limos nor does a CDL or commercial license apply
    2) State of IL doesn't require a Chauffeur license nor do they go beyond a general plating of the limo/car used (obviously insurance is required prior to plating)
    3) Chicago does require quite a bit (vehicle under 5 years of age, only approved vehicles, city of Chicago chauffeur license)
    4) Taking from suburb to City of Chicago is out of the jurisdiction of Chicago authorities and therefore one does not need City (chauffeur) license nor vehicle approval
    5) some municipalities require licensure as a livery vehicle but none that I'm aware of regulate age of vehicle or require special license
    6) dropping off from suburb to O'Hare or Midway requires special Chicago tax stamp (but not regulatory compliance with item 3 above)
    7) City of Chicago to Suburb is not permitted without Chicago chauffeur license/vehicle reg compliance
    8) From suburb dropping off in Chicago and then hanging around and taking your client back to suburb appears to be a a fuzzy area, a person on the phone at the city of Chicago first said this is acceptable, then she caught herself and said she did not know, then she said that even being in Chicago would be illegal. Other people of trust have told me this is not permitted. I am not clear personally. This would be a really helpful thing to know but I have a feeling that no one knows it.

    Basically, it appears to be easier to become an class 3 federal firearms dealer than a Chicago limo driver, but the rest of Illinois is very reasonable.

    I offer this again only as my personal notes on the regulations so as to at least give others an idea of what took me quite a bit of time to figure out.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    That is a great post. Seems to be in line with what I have heard others say. Remember, over 15 pass. requires CDL B with passenger endorsement. Also, just a pointer, they do have undercovers throughout the city posing as tourists looking to catch a quick ride to the hotel while you are staged waiting for your client. Also, the taxi heads will call you in if they see you picking up randoms off the street. You will need a MPEA decal for picking up at the airports.

  9. #9

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    This is great information for all....cause like you said, other things may appear easier and have more direction than running a limo business. I am hoping that the City of Chicago undergoes some changes to make these more clear...because like you mentioned in the reply...how certain can you take a woman who changes her answer?

  10. #10

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    I've been leaving messages for days about this Chicago issue of dropoff/pickup etc. My understanding is that it's ok to take a group out in Chicago and hang out and wait for them and then take them back to the suburbs, but it's pretty interesting how different I get answers from different people in the limo industry.

    I hold professional licenses for other businesses I've started and I've always harbored a passion for this industry, which is what brings me to it. I will say that compared to one of the businesses I'm a partner in now, limo industry is largely unregulated. Even the Chicago rules could be much, much worse.

    What makes me nervous is that no one seems to know and it isn't written anywhere. This leaves judgement up to, ultimately, the opinion of an administrative law judge to interpret the rules. Of course this is weighed heavily by the testimony of someone in the city department. And this is a "guilty until proven innocent" situation. Now, slavery was legal in this country for nearly 200 years so anything is open to change and legal challenges, but who wants to be the one sitting there fighting the government.

    I'm still trying to get a source for this information other than word of mouth. If I can obtain that source I'll post it here.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Cedar Mill Limousine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devermandois View Post
    I've been leaving messages for days about this Chicago issue of dropoff/pickup etc. My understanding is that it's ok to take a group out in Chicago and hang out and wait for them and then take them back to the suburbs, but it's pretty interesting how different I get answers from different people in the limo industry.

    I hold professional licenses for other businesses I've started and I've always harbored a passion for this industry, which is what brings me to it. I will say that compared to one of the businesses I'm a partner in now, limo industry is largely unregulated. Even the Chicago rules could be much, much worse.

    What makes me nervous is that no one seems to know and it isn't written anywhere. This leaves judgement up to, ultimately, the opinion of an administrative law judge to interpret the rules. Of course this is weighed heavily by the testimony of someone in the city department. And this is a "guilty until proven innocent" situation. Now, slavery was legal in this country for nearly 200 years so anything is open to change and legal challenges, but who wants to be the one sitting there fighting the government.

    I'm still trying to get a source for this information other than word of mouth. If I can obtain that source I'll post it here.
    I do not know how long you have been in Chicago, but does this really surprise you? The limo industry is not as professional as one on the outside would think - at least this is the conclusion I have come to in the last 3 years.

  12. #12

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    Was born in Chicago, no nothing surprises me I guess. I worked in a high profile field that was very detail oriented and public but my point is this: rules and regulations that are implemented by word of mouth and not readily available are ones that find themselves being unenforceable.

  13. #13

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    Got some information directly from a few really nice people at the Chicago Trans. dept as well as the Chicago Tax Dept.

    1) Chicago entry fee for any suburban limo/car service is $3.50, you pay that on their website
    2) Chicago airport tax for dropping off as a suburban LIVERY plate vehicle is $2.50 and you pay that at the airport
    3) Chicago airport tax fro dropping off as a PT plate is $9 and you pay that on the website

    Dropoff is legal if you are a suburban service in the city of Chicago.

    If you are a city of Chicago operation (in order to pick up in Chicago) you must a) have your business principle location in the city of Chicago, and you must b) have a chauffeur license and c) have a car that is no older than 5 years at the time of registration, renewable an additional 1 year if it passes a city inspection and then no longer able to be used.

    I sincerely hope this helps clear anything up. Any questions I'm happy to help I have some good contacts now and a lot of notes on this stuff. My email is ian@devermandois.com and I'd be more than happy to network with any of you out there.

    Ian

  14. #14

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    Ok so let me get this straight:

    If a company is incorporated outside the city they are allowed to have a party bus/limo that is just in good working condition, no 5+1 year rule. They would just have to pay $3.50 every time they enter into the city and they can drop people off where and when they wish. Correct?

    My question is, if you choose to have a suburban location are you allowed to pick up people within city limits, drive them around all night and then drop them off back in the city? I trying to see the ways you can have an older bus/limo and still operate primarily within the city without the stringent regulations of the city.

    Also what numbers did you call to find out all of this information?

    Thanks!

  15. #15

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    Please don't take this as anything but my current understanding of the rules, not legal advice:

    Incorpated outside Chicago you can have a party bus/limo that adheres to the state standards that appear to be minimal (similar to your private vehicle). That fee is for entering Chicago but an additional fee for dropping off at an airport. The additional fee depends on the kind of plate you have.

    Cannot pick up in Chicago at all if you are not a Chicago based firm. If you'd like to email me I'll give you specifics, I don't want to advertise specific numbers in a public place but the sources are Chicago Transportation Taxi/Livery dept, Chicago City Tax Dept and the DMV. ian@devermandois.com

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