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

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

After a summer of legal operations, ridesharing apps Uber and Lyft will again be considered illegal by the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA)on Saturday.

A bill Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed ahead of the Democratic National Convention in July granted the companies temporary immunity amid SEPTA’s problems with structural flaws in its Regional Rail fleet. The bill, set to expire Sept. 30, was a stopgap measure for potential congestion associated with the convention.

But representatives from Uber and Lyft told Philly.com Wednesday that they will continue to operate after the bill expires, essentially returning the apps to a state of legal limbo they occupied since Uber debuted in the city two years ago.

Wednesday was the state legislature’s last day to act before the bill expires, and no legislation to permanently legalize the services is imminent, nor is an extension of the temporary agreement.

The agreement also provided funding to the School District of Philadelphia. So come Saturday, this revenue stream to Philly’s cash-strapped schools will run dry. Philly.com reported in July that ride-sharing services would pay one percent of receipts from fares originating in the city to the PPA, which regulates taxi and limousine services in Philly.

The School District would receive about two-thirds of that revenue, and PPA would keep the rest.

That’s an estimated $1.7 million to $3.4 million after one year.

Philly Mag reported last month that during the DNC alone, Uber reported more than 5,000 unique riders to or from the Wells Fargo Center.

Meanwhile, the PPA, which is currently being sued by city-area taxi companies for its minimal oversight of ride-sharing services, hasn’t commented on how it will approach Uber and Lyft once they’re illegal.

“The PPA will act in a manner consistent with the best interests of the public,” PPA spokesmanMartin O’Rourke told Philly.com Wednesday.”We remain committed to working with all parties involved to quickly resolve this issue and will place a priority on ensuring the safety of all passengers.”