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Uber, Lyft to run ride-sharing service through weekend despite court ruling

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Thursday, July 3, 2014, 5:15 p.m.
 

Pittsburgh's two ride-share companies confirmed on Thursday that they will be open for business through the Independence Day weekend despite a cease-and-desist order from state regulators.

“We are operating this weekend as we evaluate next steps,” said Chelsea Wilson, spokeswoman for Lyft.

Uber, the city's other smartphone app-based company, plans to continue offering rides as well, spokesman Taylor Bennett said.

Two administrative judges this week ordered Lyft and Uber to halt operations until they receive permits from the Public Utility Commission. The San Francisco-based companies have applications pending.

The PUC said the companies could be held in contempt of court for defying the order.

Mayor Bill Peduto sought state approval for them to operate through the weekend, saying it would help minimize drunken driving in neighborhoods where public transportation is limited.

“It would have been great to have done it this weekend, but legislative calendars wouldn't allow it,” Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty said.

Peduto and state legislators from Pittsburgh had hoped to get provisional permits from the commission, but state offices closed for the holiday on Wednesday.

State Rep. Erin Molchany, D-Mt. Washington, said she plans to introduce a House resolution on Monday asking the PUC for temporary permits. Unlike state legislation, a resolution does not require action from the PUC.

State Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, said he is preparing a bill that would permit ride-sharing operations statewide but doubted whether legislative action would happen before year's end.

“It would be nice to get some kind of provisional licensing until the legislation is passed,” Fontana said.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-765-2312 or bbauder@tribweb.com.

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