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Uber, Lyft Will Continue Operating in Philadelphia, Defying Judge’s Order

Friday, October 7, 2016 14:33
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Appeals are coming after a Philadelphia judge on Thursday ordered ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to cease operating in the city.

Both Uber and Lyft say they will continue operations despite the new ban, which is the latest development in a years-long political tug of war between Philadelphia’s powerful taxi cartel and the disruptive ride-sharing apps.

The cease and desist order was issued by Court of Common Pleas Judge Linda Carpenter in response to a lawsuit filed by the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, a union representing taxi drivers. That lawsuit challenged the Philadelphia Parking Authority’s decision in July to allow Uber and Lyft to operate in the city after previously trying to block them.

Uber and Lyft were not defendants to the lawsuit and were not given a chance to respond to the lawsuit before the order was issued.

“We are appealing the order and will continue operating in Philadelphia as the legal process moves forward,” said Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Harrison in an email to Reason. “People in Pennsylvania want access to ridesharing, and we remain committed to finding a statewide solution that keeps this modern option available across the state.”

Drivers caught using UberX or Lyft apps to pick-up passengers could have their cars impounded and will be held in contempt of court for violating the order.

Lyft has reached out to drivers in Philadelphia to let them know about the company’s critical response contact information.

“If you ever receive a citation or have an escalated issue on the road, we’ll be here for you,” Lyft told drivers in a notification sent on Friday in response to the judge’s order.

Uber spokesman Craig Ewer told that the company also would continue to operate in defiance of the cease and desist order while an appeal was pending. Uber did not immiedately respond to an email asking if they would pay for drivers’ legal fee or impoundment costs.

“This situation makes it clear that Harrisburg needs to act: Pennsylvania must have permanent, statewide ridesharing legislation as soon as possible,” Ewer said.

Whether Harrisburg will do that before the end of the year is still an open question. Legislation that would legalize ride-sharing statewide passed the state Senate in November 2015 but has been tied up in the state House and hasn’t moved since May. The legislature is scheduled to reconvene on October 17, but there are only a handful of days remaining on the legislative calendar for the year—if the bill isn’t passed and signed into law before December 31, it would have to start all over again in the new session.

The bill would prevent Uber and Lyft drivers from picking up passengers at the city’s airport and train station, but would otherwise allow ride-sharing to have free reign in the city.

The cease and desist order comes just days after the Philadelphia Parking Authority indicated it was going to rewrite regulations to once again make ride-sharing illegal in the city. Uber and Lyft had operated outside of the PPA’s regulations prior to getting a temporarily autorization before the Democratic National Convention took place in July. That authorization expired at the end of September.


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