After pushing for legislation in Harrisburg and striking out, the ride-sharing service Uber hit the Philadelphia streets over the weekend offering free rides. But since taxi regulators say Uber’s latest service is operating without legal approval, several cars were impounded.
The service has operated its Uber Black limousine services without trouble. But when the lower-cost Uber-X, featuring drivers using their own cars, things got ugly. Uber’s Taylor Bennett says because there are no rules for ride sharing, the company believes it is operating legally. He calls the impounding “direct intimidation, harassment of our partners.”
Mayor Michael Nutter sent out a tweet in support of allowing ride sharing services such as Uber-X and Lyft to operate legally. He says it’s time for a compromise to be worked out with the Parking Authority, which regulates taxis and limos in the city.
“Cooperation from both sides Uber and Lyft need to figure out how to operate with rules and regulations in the city and in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the government side needs to do everything it can to facilitate that conversation instead of being disruptive in the marketplace,” he said.
Parking Authority executive director Vince Fenerty says Uber-X is not legal and not up to standards people expect. “For instance, one of the drivers, who we impounded his personal vehicle working for Uber the other night, could not speak a word of English,” he said.
Uber says it will continue to operate and pay fines and penalties for their people who run into trouble. Fenerty says if they do they will continue to be impounded.