Philly cab companies take Uber to federal court

Forty-five Philadelphia cab companies are joining together to sue Uber, arguing the ride-sharing service is operating illegally in the city.

The 95-page complaint filed this week in federal court accuses the company of failing to comply with taxicab regulations, as well as false advertising and wire fraud.

“Not since the days of bootlegging has there been a criminal enterprise so brazen and open as to attract hundreds of millions of dollars in investment from investment bankers and to operate in blatant violation of federal and state law as the Uber enterprise,” reads the opening lines of the complaint.

Uber has been offering its ‘UberX’ service in Philadelphia since late October. Users can electronically hail a ride through an app, with prices rising when demand is high. Drivers use their own unmarked cars.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority, which regulates the city’s 1,600 taxis, says UberX does not have proper certifications and is in violation of the law.

Lawyers representing the taxis weren’t available for comment.

For its part, Uber says it will fight the complaint.

“Uber will vigorously defend the rights of riders to enjoy competition and choice, and for drivers to build their own small businesses,” writes the company in a statement.

The suit names Travis Kalanick, the company’s CEO, as well as Google Ventures, the venture capital arm of the search engine giant, which has invested in the San Francisco-based start-up.

Uber is facing legal battles across the country, including in Portland, Oregon, where a suit filed on similar grounds earlier this month prompted the company to halt its service.

Kalanick is also facing charges in South Korea for violating transportation laws.

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