Ill. Cab Company Reportedly Takes Passengers for a Ride with Higher Fares

July 27, 2004

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against a suburban Chicago cab company for reportedly failing to comply with a subpoena her office issued more than three months ago requesting documents and answers to questions related to an investigation of alleged discriminatory practices in the company’s taxi service for individuals with disabilities.

In April, Madigan’s office issued a subpoena to 303 Cab Group Inc., and several other related entities, after her Disability Rights Bureau received a complaint alleging the cab company was charging higher fares to individuals who use motorized wheelchairs.

Under Illinois consumer fraud laws, it is illegal to offer different services and charge higher fares or prices to individuals with disabilities. Under the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act, the Attorney General has the power to issue subpoenas requesting documents from a business and requiring that business to provide information regarding potential violations of the Act.

Madigan said 303 Cab has failed to answer her subpoena or provide the requested information.

“Subpoenas are not junk mail and alleged discrimination is not an issue this office takes lightly,” Madigan said. “We have received a serious complaint against this company and are seeking information to find out whether any laws were broken.”

The subpoena was issued after Madigan’s office received a complaint from a consumer with a disability in May 2003 alleging that 303 Cab, a taxi service operating primarily in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, charged a $35 flat rate each way for an approximately three-mile trip. The high cost was attributed to the fact that the van had a lift.

Madigan’s suit, filed July 22 in Cook County Circuit Court, asks the court to order 303 Cab to comply with the subpoena and provide the requested information regarding 303 Cab’s services for individuals with disabilities.

Madigan said the 303 Cab investigation is part of an ongoing effort by her office to ensure access for individuals with disabilities.

Madigan’s Disability Rights Bureau last month reached a record settlement with Walgreen Co. to resolve a suit filed last year alleging that many of the popular chain’s more than 400 Illinois drug stores had barriers that limited access for individuals with disabilities.

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