The PUC, Lyft & Uber: The real 'threat'
The hole in the head of the Pennsylvania regulatory state is larger than we ever could have imagined. Witness its nonsensical ruling ordering two ride-sharing services to immediately shut down in Pittsburgh.
Lyft and Uber are innovative startups that use a smartphone application — and private drivers and vehicles — to exploit the manifest deficiencies of the local taxi monopoly. Because they accept “donations” instead of “charging fares,” Lyft and Uber thought they could bypass the state Public Utility Commission's monopoly-protecting ways.
That, of course, has the PUC's knickers in a knot. And in the Bureaucratic States of America, thumbing one's nose at regulators bent on restraining free trade is a capital offense. So, the PUC was forced to create, out of whole cloth, a public safety “threat.”
An undercover PUC gendarme has been targeting the ride-sharing services for months, issuing hefty fines. When Lyft and Uber continued operating, the PUC sought — and on Tuesday received from a pair of administrative law judges — a cease-and-desist order until the services obtain licenses, already applied for.
The judges ruled that Lyft and Uber pose an immediate threat to public safety, never mind that there's no evidence supporting that conclusion. Thus, the only “threat” here is to the state of overregulation and, of course, to regulators who, in their zealotry to “protect” the public (if not their power), only are disserving it.
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.
- The solar problem: Subsidized inefficiency
- Sunday pops
- Volunteers’ contributions: Growing flowers & more in Connellsville
- The Box
- The Plum sex scandal: New, sad questions
- The ‘green’ ruse: Germany’s poor ‘model’
- Pittsburgh Tuesday takes
- Pittsburgh Laurels & Lances
- Saturday essay: Waltz of the robins
- Greensburg Laurels & Lances
- Pipeline pap: The real agenda