Unless you live here in Chicagoland or have traveled to our area previously, you’re probably unaware of the wacky taxi system at O’Hare Airport.
Traveler beware! There are very explicit “rules” that must be followed when trying to hire a taxi to drive either to the suburbs or the city.
The first thing to know is there are two different categories of cabs - city cabs and suburban cabs.
Let’s talk about the city cabs first. You can pick up a city cab at an O’Hare taxi stand just outside the terminal doors on the baggage claim level. The Chicago Department of Transportation advises to make sure you use the designated Taxi Stands to ensure you have a licensed driver. Pretty easy. Depending upon traffic, fares to downtown can run anywhere from $30 - $50.
Now, if you’re going to a suburban destination, follow these procedures to save time and money.
- First and foremost, DO NOT TAKE A CITY CAB TO THE SUBURBS. Your fare easily could be double what a suburban cab fare would be.
- Have all your luggage before calling to order your suburban taxi. You can pre-order a cab before you arrive, but you still need to call your cab company AFTER you have grabbed all your luggage.
- Proceed to the suburban taxi pick-up area, which is the middle area curb next to the middle lane. Do not wait for your cab right outside the exit doors. This area is for city cab pick-ups only.
- Keep an eye out for the cab number that was given to you when you called your cab company after picking up your luggage. Be patient, due to terminal traffic, you may need to wait 10-15 minutes before your cab arrives.
- Fares to suburban locations could run $25 - $75, but rest easy knowing that, because you ordered a suburban cab, you won’t be shelling out $50 - $150.
Check our service directory for a list of suburban cab companies (Be sure to use the filter on the left to choose transportation!) that will take you to the suburbs without costing you the notorious arm and leg, plus tip (fingertip?).
Uber and Lyft both serve the Chicago Northwest region including from O'Hare International Airport.