Uber and Lyft inch closer to full legalization in Philadelphia

Uber and Lyft inch closer to full legalization in Philadelphia
Metro file photo

The long slog to legalize Uber and Lyft in Philadelphia took a big step forward when state legislators passed a bill Wednesday that would legalize the popular taxi apps.

The state House of Representatives passed the legislation, Philly state Rep.Jordan Harris announced on Twitter.

The billincludes a 1.4 percent tax on the apps. The tax revenue would go to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which will keep one-third and distribute the rest to the School District of Philadelphia, theBilly Pennwebsite reported. During the almost 90-day grace period when the apps were temporarily legalized, the apps collectively netted $350,000 in taxes for the School District,PlanPhilly reported.

The bill will now head to the state Senate for a vote. The Senate passed an earlier version of the same bill this spring so no hurdles are foreseen there. Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign the bill.

Uber andLyfthave made millions in Philadelphia and turned the traditional taxi cab business on its head, even though they are not technically regulated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA).

The services have been operating in the state’s other 66 counties under a temporary two-year license from the Pennsylvania Utilities Commission.

The unusual regulatory situation has left the apps, their drivers and their customers in ongoing legal limbo—like when a Philly judge ordered them to cease all operations in the city due the fact that they are not technically legal in the city.

The multi-billion dollar companies behind the appsgot that cease-and-desist order overturnedby a higher court.

While the PPA didimpound a fewUberdrivers’ vehicleswhen UberX launched in Philly in October 2014, no other enforcement actions were ever taken against eitherUberorLyft.