By Tim Jimenez and Alexandria Hoff
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Philadelphia Parking Authority now says popular ridesharing services Uber X and Lyft are illegal in the city after a short term agreement expired. Plus, in a win for taxis, cab drivers will get a break from some regulations.
The Parking Authority is giving 48 hours notice to Uber X and Lyft. They say that they’ll start enforcing the law that they can’t operate in the city.
Drivers for those companies had been protected for about three months because of a temporary agreement, reached ahead of the DNC, that allowed them to run in the city through the end of September.
Now that they’re are illegal again in the city, Uber X driver Gary is a bit nervous. Until a decision is made UberX and Lyft drivers risk ticketing and even the immediate impoundment of their vehicles if caught.
“Yes it makes me feel very uncomfortable knowing that the PPA can take my vehicle. And I have to spend more money on getting my vehicle out.”
“I’m a family person. I have 5 kids,” said one Uber driver during a ride that he allowed Eyewitness News camera in. He says he is not worried about impoundment because he feels that he has passed all Uber background checks and has fairly paid to make sure that his car is registered and safe for travel. His perspective is unique in that when he is not driving an Uber in Philadelphia, he pays heftily to operate a cab in New York City.
Uber, in response, says the PPA’s decision brings them back to where they were before the agreement was reached in July and they will continue to operate in the city.
Uber spokesman Craig Ewer says they are also hopeful that state lawmakers act.
“It is more imperative than ever that the House leadership stick to their promise and pass ridesharing legislation the week of October 17th,” Ewer said.
The PPA says they’re easing up on some regulations for taxis, which is what cab drivers have been looking for.
They say they’re losing business because they deal with rules and fees that don’t apply to Uber and Lyft.
“They allowed UberX to operate inside the city without any regulations while we were handcuffed to 96 pages,” said Ronald Blount, head of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania.
Examples of change: cabs can get rid of the shield separating the driver and passenger if there’s a camera system installed. And, mileage limits on taxis will be bumped up.
Blount now hopes that when State Representatives return to session this month they will vote to add balance, by passing some requirements for Uber and Lyft as well.
“Especially dealing with safety and vetting their drivers and vetting their vehicles,” said Blount. “If that can happen I think we have an agreement that all sides can live with.”