Feb. 2, 2017
A Minneapolis technology company has sued the city of Chicago for banning advertising inside the private cars used by Uber, Lyft and other ride-share company drivers.
Vugo, founded in 2015 and looking to expand its digital advertising business to ride-sharing vehicles here, filed a federal lawsuit Thursday in Chicago, saying that the city’s ban on ads in and out of ride-share operators’ vehicles violates the company’s constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection. By contrast, ads are allowed in and on taxis.
“These regulations unfairly favor the taxi companies at the expense of ride-sharing drivers,” Jeffrey Schwab, attorney for Vugo, said in a statement. Schwab is an attorney for the Liberty Justice Center, a nonprofit legal organization that favors limiting government.
“There is no difference inherent in those services that justify banning advertising in one while allowing it in the other,” Schwab told reporters at a news conference.
The content adjusts for the type of trip that is being taken, that is, if a person is going to a sports event, ads “cater to that type of experience,” said Rob Flessner, co-founder of Vugo. Drivers receive 60 percent of the ad revenue, he said.
Vugo estimates that drivers can earn an average of $100 a month from the ads, according to the lawsuit.