Two Public Utility Commission judges have said the board should deny an application by the ride-sharing company Uber to permanently set up shop in Pennsylvania.
Uber now has a limited presence in Philadelphia and is operating in Pittsburgh on a temporary basis.
The PUC judges said Thursday the company’s request to permanently operate in the state should be rejected partly because of its actions in Pittsburgh. They said Uber flouted a previous cease-and-desist order there.
In a statement, Uber spokesman Taylor Bennett said the judges’ recommendation “completely reinforces the critical need for state legislation that embraces innovation and gives all Pennsylvanians more choice.”
State Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Allegheny, introduced a bill this summer that would legalize ride-sharing services throughout the state. He said a number of residents have written to his office in support of ride-sharing.
“Hundreds and hundreds of emails from my constituents … pointed out to me over and over again about the lack of taxi service in my city, Pittsburgh,” he said. “Story after story about how they couldn’t get a cab or it showed up two hours late. [Ride-sharing] is a whole different way of providing service.”
Opponents of Fontana’s proposal have said ride-sharing companies have an unfair advantage over taxi services.
The PUC is expected to make a decision later this year. The outcome will not affect Uber’s operation in Philadelphia because the Philadelphia Parking Authority, not the PUC, oversees the company’s services in the city.