Uber and Lyft are destroying Chicago's cab drivers

As Uber and Lyft expand into Chicago, taxi drivers in the city are struggling to afford medallions as the number of riders drops.

A Chicago cab driver blocks the street as a City of Chicago snowplow waits to pass while the cab driver shovels snow away from his stranded taxi the day after a winter storm dumped one foot of snow in Chicago, January 6, 2005.

Ride-hailing apps are getting a one-star rating from the Chicago cab drivers whose livelihood they're challenging.

As Uber and Lyft expand, taxi revenue has fallen by 40% over the past three years, while 42% of cabs in Chicago aren't even operating, according to a study published by the city's taxi driver union and reported by USA Today.

This dropoff can be seen in the average monthly income being brought in by each active medallion — or the permit needed for drivers to pick up passengers who hail them on the street. The measure has dropped to $3,206 per medallion, down from $5,276 in January 2014, the study showed.

It's a direct result of a declining number of riders. The number of taxi passengers is now roughly 1.1 million a month, less than half of the 2.3 million figure in early 2014.

As such, it's getting more difficult to not only afford medallions, but also pay off the loans taken out to finance purchases.

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