Wolf signs bill allowing Uber, Lyft to operate in Philly

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Wolf signs bill allowing Uber, Lyft to operate in Philly
Updated: July 14, 2016 — 1:47 PM EDT

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/Files
A driver displays Uber and Lyft ride-sharing signs in his car window.
by Staff Report
Gov. Wolf has signed legislation that will allow ride share firms like Uber and Lyft to operate in Philadelphia until at least Sept. 30, his office announced Thursday.


In a statement, Wolf called for legislation to make the arrangement permanent.

"I have supported the legalization of ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft in Philadelphia and throughout Pennsylvania, and I believe we should be finding ways to help these companies grow across the commonwealth," said Wolf, who signed the bill late Wednesday.

Under the measure, ride-sharing services would pay 1 percent of their gross receipts from fares that originate in the city to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which oversees taxi and limousine services in the city. The cash-strapped School District would get about two-thirds of that money, and the PPA would keep the rest. It is still uncertain how much money would be generated.


"It is also encouraging that the legislation provides two-thirds of the revenue derived from ride sharing to the Philadelphia School District," Wolf said. "I will work to make sure the school district is a primary beneficiary in the final legislation."

The Philadelphia ride-sharing issue has been a source of contention in the Capitol, where legislation to legalize it has been slow to move.

The Public Utility Commission has allowed Uber and Lyft to operate temporarily in the state, but it does not oversee transportation businesses in Philadelphia; that is the PPA's job. Critics have said the agency has allowed politics to interfere with the legalization process.

Uber and PPA applauded the bill after its passage on Wednesday. PPA spokesman Martin O'Rourke called it a "positive step," given SEPTA's recent problems with structural flaws that forced it to take a third of its rail fleet out of commission and the potential congestion associated with the approaching Democratic National Convention.

Ride-sharing services have become popular and controversial. In Philadelphia, they have used drivers without commercial licenses, and the Parking Authority has at times pulled over drivers and impounded their cars.

The Daily News reported this year that the PPA had conspired with taxi companies to ensure that ride-sharing services remained unregulated, operating illegally, in Philadelphia. In response, Uber called the PPA untrustworthy and urged the legislature to regulate ride-sharing services in Philadelphia.
 
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