Judge orders Uber, Lyft to cease operations in Philadelphia

Uber and Lyft plan to operate illegally, again, in Philly

Ride-hailing services UberXand Lyftwereserved a cease-and-desist orderThursday, less than a week after a temporary agreement of immunity between the services and the Philadelphia Parking Authorityexpired — but neither plans to stop operations.

Both Uber and Lyft said they will appeal Court of Common Pleas Judge Linda Carpenter’s order, while continuing to let their drivers pick up passengers in the City of Brotherly Love.

“While our appeal is pending at the Commonwealth Court, Uber will remain available for riders and drivers,” said Uber spokesmanCraig Ewer. “This situation makes it clear that Harrisburg needs to act: Pennsylvania must have permanent, statewide ridesharing legislation as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Lyft said they never got a chance to defend themselves in court, as they were not named in the suit, filed by a coalition of traditional cab drivers, Uber BLACK drivers and disabled activists who sued to have Uber declared illegal in Philadelphia in July.

“Lyft was not given any notice or opportunity to be heard on this issue before today’s ruling ,” said Lyft spokeswoman Chelsea Harrison. “We are appealing the order and will continue operating in Philadelphia as the legal process moves forward. People in Pennsylvania want access to ridesharing, and we remain committed to finding a statewide solution that keeps this modern option available across the state.”

The judge issued the immediate moratorium because of the PPA’s claim that it is unable to stop UberX and Lyft from operating,the Philadelphia Inquirerreported.

Though the PPA, which regulates taxi and limousine services in Philadelphia, said it would consider Uber and Lyft services illegal on Tuesday, representatives from both companies said they would continue to operate, essentially returning them to the state of legal limbo they occupied since Uber debuted in the city two years ago.

Judge Carpenter’s order stems from a lawsuit from members of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Philadelphia that sought to halt an arrangement between the PPA and the ride-hailing services for them to temporarily operate in the city.

Instead, Gov. Tom Wolf signed a bill that authorized UberX and Lyft to operate legally until Sept. 30 to help the city provide transportation to participants in the national Democratic Party nominating convention. Now that the governor’s measure has expired, the lawsuitis back on the table.

On Thursday afternoon, Uber’s app was still functioning in the city and Metro was able to schedule an UberX ride from Center City to South Philly.

Additional reporting by Sam Newhouse

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