The amended bill now heads back to the state Senate, which had passed an earlier version unanimously.
The services are presently illegal in Philadelphia after lawmakers allowed a state bill that had temporarily legalized the services during the DNC to sunset.
Two items worth noting:
- The School District of Philadelphia will continue to receive two-thirds of a 1.4% tax on ride-hailing services that will remit to the Parking Authority (which will remain the local regulator.) Another version of the bill had stripped out the tax and it wasn't clear whether it would ultimately make it in.
- The bill prohibits Uber and Lyft from picking up and dropping off customers at the Philadelphia International Airport, protecting traditional taxi companies from competition. However, it doesn't prohibit the airport from entering into contracts with TNCs, similar to how traditional taxis pay to serve the airport.
Ride-hailing, whether that's traditional taxis or the newer app-based services, is an important part of any local transportation ecosystem, helping those who may only occasionally need access to a car.
Before these services came on the scene, Philadelphia had an unusually low ratio of taxis to people for a major city. That made it easy to hail a cab around Center City, but more difficult in less dense neighborhoods further from downtown. If TNCs become legal as expected, they'll fill a crucial gap in Philly's menu of transportation choices.
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