Lawmakers from Pittsburgh seek interim permits for Uber, Lyft
Legislators from Pittsburgh are hoping companion resolutions in the House and Senate can influence state regulators to issue provisional operating permits for two ride-sharing companies despite a cease-and-desist order.
State Rep. Erin Molchany, D-Mt. Washington, introduced a House resolution on Monday asking the Public Utility Commission for temporary permits.
State Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, said he will introduce a bill on Tuesday that would permit ride-sharing statewide, but he's not sure whether legislative action can happen before later this year. Instead, he also intends to introduce a Senate resolution asking the PUC for temporary permits — mirroring the resolution by Molchany.
“The resolutions ask the PUC to issue the temporary permits for these folks to operate until the legislation is passed,” Fontana said. “The legislation sets criteria for drivers, insurance, compensation and other kinds of things. I'm going to ask they do this based on the criteria in the legislation.”
The legislation sets up a new kind of “transportation network company” — a legal definition for Uber and Lyft, which connect passengers and drivers using Internet applications, versus traditional taxi services.
Lyft and Uber, both based in San Francisco, continued to offer rides over the weekend after two administrative judges last week ordered them to halt operations until they receive operating permits from the PUC.
PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher said no new citations were filed over the weekend. But the PUC's staff has asked for more information from Uber's subsidiary Raiser PA, after it filed an application with regulators to allow it to begin operating legally in Allegheny County on an emergency basis.
“It's still under consideration, but we need additional information,” Kocher said.
“The commission has maintained that it would be supportive of any legislative changes that create a category for these companies to operate, but until then we have the obligation to enforce the law that exists,” Kocher said.
Six companies have applied for PUC operating permits: two each from Lyft and Uber for Pittsburgh and services in the state; and from Cranberry Taxi (also known as Veterans Taxi) for state operations, and CheckerX from Philadelphia.
Fontana said it's unclear to him what further information the PUC may need from Raiser, unless it's proof of insurance coverage. “They have to provide that if they want to do all of this. They have to provide that.”
Meanwhile, Uber began offering temporary fare cuts in New York City to step up competition with cab services.
Uber reduced fares by 20 percent in New York for its UberX service, making it cheaper than a city taxi, the company said on Monday on its website. An UberX ride from New York's Grand Central to the Financial District would cost $22 under the new fares, compared with $24 for a city taxi, Uber said. The lower prices will be in place for a limited time.
Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said the company has offered price cuts in more than 40 cities but not Pittsburgh.
John D. Oravecz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7882 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rue21 adjusts for tough market
- Few in Westmoreland County opposed to expansion plan for Mariner pipeline
- Refinery turbulence drives up pump prices
- Wolf tax proposal puts Beaver County Shell plant at risk, gas group head says
- Western Pa. builders earn top honors for work
- Oilfield employee cutbacks may benefit long-haul trucking
- Whistle-blower incentives advance
- Giant Eagle to close all 8 Good Cents locations
- Rocket firm hired to probe deadly air bags
- Make me a match: Fidelity to match some IRA contributions
- Apple’s foray into cars brings potential woes