by Pat Loeb
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It appears Uber X and Lyft will soon be legal in Philadelphia, under a bill in a Pennsylvania House committee. But public school advocates are angry because the bill strips out contributions to the school district that were included in an earlier version.
A quirk in state law gives the Parking Authority control over hired vehicles in the city, but Uber X and Lyft confounded it, says executive director Vince Fenerty.
“They really didn’t want to be regulated. They have a reputation of not wanting to be regulated and running all over everyone,” he said.
Fenerty says it’s taken nearly a year of negotiation to work out a bill that will ensure driver background checks and vehicle inspections, but it will cost $4 million to execute. So, the Authority will keep all fees up to that amount, instead of sharing them with the school district.
That angers school advocates such as Councilwoman Helen Gym, who spoke at the monthly board meeting.
“There is no place in this world where $4 million of new revenue should go to the Parking Authority ahead of our school children,” she said.
Gym is already troubled by the Authority’s declining contributions to the district, despite rising profits, which Fenerty says is due to another quirk in state law.
“We’re asking this board to support an effort to shift back to the Senate language and make sure the revenue from the ride sharing operations increasingly go to the school district. That’s where we need it,” said child advocate Donna Cooper.
Authority officials say they need all the revenue to cover increased costs of regulation.