Ride-Hailing Services Are Legal And Regulated In Philadelphia: Now What?

Image courtesy of Uber

Ride-hailing apps, or transportation network companies (TNCs), have been in sort of a legal gray area in Philadelphia, but as of today, hailing a ride will be completely legal. Earlier today, the governor of Pennsylvania signed legislation that regulates the services. Like all laws, it’s imperfect, and stakeholders including taxi drivers and people with disabilities have complaints about it.

The objections of disability activists are probably the easiest to understand for non-bureaucrats: the law requires the ride-hailing services (Uber, Lyft, and any competitors that enter the market) to have 70 wheelchair-accessible vehicles collectively.

That’s nice in theory, but who is going to coordinate that between multiple companies where the drivers own their own vehicles? Will the companies pool their resources and set up a depot of accessible vans?

Other changes that are part of the law are mandatory vehicle inspections and background checks, and an undetermined amount of money must go from every ride to the public schools in Philadelphia. 1.4% of every fare would go to the Parking Authority of Philadelphia, which will forward about 1% of the money to the school district.

Uber still owes the state a $11.4 million fine for operating a transportation business illegally from a few years ago, and some lawmakers favor waiving the fine and starting fresh with the companies operating legally.

Wolf signs bill making Uber, Lyft legal in Philly [Philly.com]
Gov. Wolf makes Uber, Lyft legal, but calls for driver protections remain [Philadelphia Business Journal]

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