Uber X Will Be Illegal Again in Philly Starting This Weekend


Jim Saksa at PlanPhilly notes that while the law temporarily legalizing ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft in Philadelphia doesn't officially lapse until tomorrow, Harrisburg already went on recess Wednesday so there isn't going to be a last-minute fix.

Ride-hailing apps will be illegal again as of this weekend, at least until October 17th.

The General Assembly entered into recess on Wednesday without extending the temporary legalization of Transportation Network Companies (TNC) like Uber and Lyft in Philadelphia, which ends on Friday. Starting Saturday, ride-hailing companies operating within Philadelphia will once again be considered illegal cabs in the eyes of the law. Whether the PPA will also look at them like hack taxis remains to be seen.

TNCs will remain in a legal gray zone until October 17th and the earliest, when the General Assembly reconvenes. After that session, there is just one lame duck session in November before Harrisburg finishes the legislative term.

The state Public Utility Commission has legalized the services for a probationary period of two years in the rest of the state, but the recently-embattled Parking Authority is Philly's taxi regulator, making us the only county in the state where the services aren't legal.

The Parking Authority could always choose to adopt the PUC's regulatory framework without state action, but they won't due to lobbying from incumbent taxi businesses. There's still a need for a permanent statewide legislative fix to get us past these temporary patchwork approaches.

Until Harrisburg legalizes the services, perhaps in the upcoming lame duck session, Uber and Lyft won't pay the school tax that was negotiated as part of the temporary agreement that expires tomorrow. 

From Saksa's report:

They will, however, stop paying a one percent tax on their gross receipts. One-third of the tax went to the PPA to cover the cost of overseeing TNCs, and two-thirds went to the School District.

“Since the temporary ridesharing framework passed this summer, Philadelphia has seen tens of thousands of dollars from Lyft alone go to our City schools,” Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Harrison said in a written statement. 

How much school revenue will Harrisburg lawmakers make Philly forfeit while they drag their feet creating a statewide framework?

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  • Jon Geeting
    published this page in Blog 2016-09-29 11:03:33 -0400