Share This Page

PUC urged to give Uber, Lyft emergency permits

| Wednesday, July 23, 2014, 5:59 p.m.

The state Public Utility Commission should grant emergency permits for ride-share companies Uber and Lyft to operate in Allegheny County, an agency bureau is recommending.

Commissioners are scheduled to vote on Thursday on the recommendation from the PUC's Bureau of Technical Utility Services. A separate PUC division, the Bureau of Investigations & Enforcement, opposes the ride-share companies' request.

“The commission can accept, reject or modify the recommendations,” said PUC spokeswoman Jennifer Kocher.

Kocher said conflicting bureau recommendations are not uncommon. The PUC has 13 bureaus and offices.

Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett declined to comment. A Lyft spokeswoman did not return a message.

The companies, which connect riders and drivers through smartphone applications, began service in Western Pennsylvania this year without seeking permission from or registering with the state. They applied in April for authority to run so-called experimental transportation network service and then sought emergency permits this month — Uber on July 2, Lyft on July 16.

The PUC, which regulates traditional taxi and limousine companies, has cited 32 drivers, fined the companies a combined $225,000 and issued cease-and-desist orders that Uber and Lyft have ignored.

Their request to run experimental service is pending before the PUC's Office of Administrative Law Judge.

Tom Fontaine is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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.