Compromise reached in Germantown Cab Co. dispute with PPA [updated]

 Despite last week's cease-operations order, the Germantown Cab Co. fleet could return to city streets as early as Friday. (Photo courtesy of NBC10)

Despite last week's cease-operations order, the Germantown Cab Co. fleet could return to city streets as early as Friday. (Photo courtesy of NBC10)

The attorney representing Germantown Cab Company in its dispute with the Philadelphia Parking Authority told NewsWorks on Thursday afternoon that the sides reached an agreement in Harrisburg that would allow the 150-car fleet to return to city streets as soon as Friday.

Michael Henry said the sides met in Commonwealth Court in Harrisburg earlier in the day to discuss last week’s order that the company cease operations in Philadelphia.

Cab-company stance

At Thursday’s hearing, Germantown Cab agreed to file a PR1 form to register with the PPA.

It would do so “under protest” because the company maintains its partial-rights cabs are beholden to the Public Utility Commission even after the legislature granted PPA jurisdiction over the city cab industry, Henry said.

Once that form is filed, which Henry said will happen on Friday as the sides were returning from Harrisburg around 4 p.m., the cease-operations order will be lifted. From there, the overarching-jurisdictional legal issue will continue to work its way through Commonwealth Court.

“The crisis is over,” Henry said. “This is exactly what we wanted to happen.”

[Update: NewsWorks content partner NBC10 reported that Germantown Cab vehicles were still on the road during the time between last week’s order and this week’s agreement.]

PPA reaction

The PPA also viewed Thursday’s actions as a positive. Dennis Weldon, PPA counsel, said that the hearing itself could have been avoided had Germantown Cab filed that PR1 form in the first place.

What was of primary importance to Weldon was the fact that the court agreed to expedite the ongoing case to decide whether Germantown Cab falls under PPA jurisdiction, which Weldon maintained the court already said they do.

That could happen as soon as Friday.

“If this gets decided the right way by the court, we regulate them,” Weldon said Thursday afternoon. “We believe this case has already been decided by the court. We think it’s pretty clear, so we will continue to do our job. This can’t linger much longer.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.