January 28: PPA and taxi companies colluding to fight Uber | Mount Washington | Free transfers

William Bender at the Daily News obtained emails between the Philadelphia Parking Authority and taxi medallion owners showing substantial collusion between the industry and regulators in fighting the spread of ride-hailing services like Uber X and Lyft. The PPA and taxi companies appear to have coordinated on sting operations, and worked together on lobbying state lawmakers to carve Philadelphia out of bills legalizing the ride-hailing services across the state. As Jim Saksa has explained, the state Public Utility Commission regulates taxis throughout the rest of Pennsylvania.

Where is the city dumping all the snow? A lot of it is being sent to those big vacant lots at Broad and Washington, and 7th and Poplar, ABC reports. Clarena Tolson, deputy managing director for infrastructure and transportation, confirmed that the snow is being sent to publicly-owned sites across the city, but wouldn’t tell the Inquirer where, out of concern that private companies would dump snow there too.  

Malcolm Burnley makes the case for free SEPTA transfers at Citified. Most transit planners agree paid transfers are “insane” but there’s a hitch in that SEPTA makes about $12 million from transfers, and there’d be some additional costs involved in rebalancing bus service toward the routes people would use more in the absence of a transfer penalty (e.g. crosstown and feeder routes to the BSL.) Burnley points to a 2012 DVRPC study estimating free transfers could increase SEPTA ridership by 11% over time, with a slight 3.6% long-term hit to farebox revenue.

The water crisis in Flint, MI has set off a national conversation about lead remediation and testing. Sam Wood takes a look at Philadelphia’s testing approach, which complies with federal regulations, but which advocates and city officials seem to agree should be more stringent.

Councilman Kenyatta Johnson and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society are touting a new “land care reentry initiative”, reports Tom MacDonald, which “encourages and assists private employers to transform blighted vacant lots, while hiring and training former prison inmates who are returning to their communities.” 

Michael Nutter is joining the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs as a professor of urban policy. 


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