Taxicab Driver Excellence Award Winner to Receive a Medallion Valued At Approximately $350,000

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today presented the 2013 Taxicab Driver Excellence Award to longtime Chicago taxicab driver Tarig Kamill based on his outstanding service dedicated to the disabled community. The free taxicab medallion presentation will take place during the Taxi and Limousine Driver Recruitment Expo at Olive-Harvey College, 10001 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago.

Intended to further support excellent service, the medallion award to drivers providing services to people with disabilities was part of the Mayor’s taxi reform ordinance passed by the City Council in January of 2012. The ordinance allows for a free medallion to be awarded each year to taxicab drivers who provide exemplary service to the disabled community by driving wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAV). The average price of a Chicago taxi medallion is approximately $350,000.

“The quality and service Tariq Kamill provides to Chicago residents and visitors is uncanny and remarkable.” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our disabled and senior community relies on city services, like wheelchair accessible taxicabs, to get to work, run errands and make scheduled appointments, so I am honored to reward a dedicated public chauffeur with this one-of-a-kind award.”

Kamill, an 11 year taxicab veteran received 60 nominations from his customers and was chosen for the award by a committee lead by Commissioner Karen Tamley from the Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities (MOPD).

One nominee, William Hayes, wrote, “His cab is always clean, both inside and out. And he will try to help you in any way he can. He guides his clients on and off the vehicle with the utmost consideration for the client’s wellbeing and safety. He will assist you up to your front door and inside the building.”

In 2013, Kamill chauffeured 1,821 passengers who requested a WAV vehicle. He’s also a volunteer; devoting 60 hours at the Pacific Garden Mission.
“Mr. Kamill has dedicated his career to driving a wheelchair accessible taxicab and he has truly demonstrated excellence in providing safe, reliable, and high quality service to Chicago’s disability community,” said MOPD Commissioner Karen Tamley. “He has shown that he genuinely cares about his customers, and, on many occasions, he has gone out of his way to help them.”

Kamill adds his personal touch and his riders appreciates that he goes above and beyond for everyone. Another nominee, Max Arkley, wrote, “Tarig remembers me and greets me personally by name. He secures and checks all four of the ties that attach to my wheelchair. He always reminds people traveling with me to watch their head when entering and exiting his cab.”

The Taxicab Driver Excellence Committee is made up of four City of Chicago employees and four members of local non-profit organizations. The committee is led by Commissioner Karen Tamley of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD). Additional committee members are Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP), Deputy Commissioner Rupal Bapat of BACP, David Staudacher of BACP, Efrat Stein of Self Help Home, Carrie Kaufman of Access Living, Melissa Hoffmann of the Rehab Institute Chicago, and Melissa Picciola of Equip for Equality.

Taxi and Limousine Driver Recruitment Expo
Olive-Harvey College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago, is hosting its second Taxi and Limousine Driver Recruitment Expo on March 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is designed for those looking to secure a professional driving credential for taxicabs, limousines or private party buses. Participants will have a chance to speak with industry leaders, learn more about city licensing processes and enroll in upcoming courses. The event is free and open to the public.

Two special workshops – “How to Become a Successful Public Chauffeur” and “At Your Service: Career Options for Limo Drivers” – are planned. Scholarships will be given to select participants. More than 200 people attended last year.

For more information about the expo, please contact the College to Careers office of Olive-Harvey College at (773) 291-6490.