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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

UPDATED 2 p.m.

The head of Philadelphia's taxi alliance is trying to get a judge to stop a deal between Uber and the Philadelphia Parking Authority, and the judge is asking the PPA to prove why the agreement can stand by 3:30 today.

Ron Blount, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, filed a restraining order Tuesday in the Court of Common Pleas. It's a bid to halt an arrangement that temporarily stops the PPA from its two-year crusade to keep UberX cars - which the authority views as "hack cabs" - from operating in Philadelphia. They argued not that UberX should necessarily be illegal but that the PPA didn't have the authority to bypass the Pennsylvania legislature and let it operate in Philly. Blount is joined in the suit by Matthew Clark, a member of a disability group of Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers and Taxis for All Philadelphia, and Vincent Wilson.

In the filing, lawyers for Blount and the other petitioners wrote the agreement would "adversely affect and harm taxi, limousine, Uber Black drivers, riders with disabilities, the Philadelphia School District and the public interest." They argued not that UberX should necessarily be illegal but that the PPA didn't have the authority to bypass the Pennsylvania legislature and let it operate in Philly.

Blount could not be reached for comment. Vince Fenerty, executive director of the PPA, said he was aware of the filed injunction but could not further comment.

"My attorneys are in court right now," he said.

The regulatory authority and the ridesharing service came to an agreement last week, when commuters learned that a third of the Regional Rail fleet would come off-line for months after problems were found with some of its cars.

Uber later told reporters it was investing $2.5 million in the months-long effort, in a bid to keep surge pricing to a minimum and increase the number of drivers available for UberX and UberPOOL trips.

After the agreement was made official last week, Blount promised "complete chaos" from cab drivers during the DNC.

The lawsuit marks a drastic turn in relations between the PPA and taxicabs. When UberX first launched in 2014, the PPA held stings against the drivers. The Daily News later revealed collusion between the PPA and cab companies to keep UberX illegal in Philly.

We'll update this story as it develops.

PPA motion by Billy Penn on Scribd

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
Judge Linda Carpenter denied the motion by the petitioners for a temporary restraining order. She scheduled an evidentiary hearing for July 22 regarding motion for regular preliminary injunction.

I'm not good at cut-and-paste links on iPhone. I found answer by googling this article of OP, showing updated info as of 9:30 last night.
Thanks couldn't find anything yesterday, well next hearing is 7/22


UberX is still illegal despite PPA truce, Philly judge rules
Judge rules in favor of opponents of an Uber-PPA truce, but unclear what will change.
Ronald Blount of the Philadelphia Taxi Workers Alliance speaks to a reporter as Uber Black drivers, disability activists and cabbies look on, just after he filed an injunction to stop a truce with the PPA that effectively makes UberX legal in Philly.

A Philadelphia judge sided Tuesday with a diverse coalition opposing a new deal that "semi-legalized" Uber in the city, saying she would order "a stay" on the agreement - although it's unclear what, if anything, that will change.

"Right now, the regulations are that UberX is illegal in Philadelphia, until the commonwealth of Pennsylvania changes that," Judge Linda Carpenter said Tuesday, calling UberX a "hack" taxi.

Members of the Fair Ride Philly coalition, which includes activists for the disabled, Uber Black drivers and cabbies were in court Tuesday after filing for an emergency injunction to halt the 90-day truce between the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) and Uber to allow UberX and UberPOOL to operate in the city.

Carpenter's written ruling only upheld her past rulings that UberX is illegal, and did not specify any actions regarding the PPA-Uber truce.

"Judge Carpenter's order does not invalidate our agreement with the PPA in any way," an Uber spokesman said in a statement. "We look forward to serving Philadelphia during the DNC and throughout the summer."

The truce was trumpeted last week at a press conference as the resolution to the city's need for transportation due to the ongoing SEPTA Regional Rail crisis and the impending Democratic National Convention (DNC).

PPA executive director Vince Fenerty originally said UberX and Uber Pool were "semi-legalized," but later said that meant they would not face enforcement actions for illegal activity under the Uber/PPA agreement.

The deal, which was entered into evidence but is listed as private and confidential, Carpenter said, also included an agreed $350,000 settlement of PPA fines to be paid by Uber when a deal in Harrisburg to legalize Uber and the similar taxi app Lyft is enacted into law.

"As far as this backroom deal, there was no need for it, because there's already enough legal Uber drivers who could have given some relief to SEPTA riders," said Vincent Wilson, an Uber Black driver who was one of the plaintiffs asking for the injunction, referring to other Uber Black drivers who have paid to be licensed and approved through the PPA like regular cabbies.

"Most of the areas that could use the relief are outside the PPA's area anyways, along the Regional Rail lines. … If they really wanted to do a relief, they could have lowered prices and absorbed some of the cost for their riders," Wilson argued. "Why is Lyft not included in that? Because Uber paid. That's the bottom line."

Judge Carpenter warned a crowd of several dozen Uber Black drivers, cabbies and activists with disabilities in her courtroom that "this may be a hollow victory."

"This truly is up to the Legislature, and they may meet before the DNC, knowing how important this is," she said.

Activists for the disabled said they want to prevent the expansion of Uber, claiming it has limited the growth of handicapped-accessible taxis in the city. They say Uber WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicles) are rare. There are currently 32 handicapped-accessible medallion taxis in Philly, out of about 1,650 medallion cabs.

Latoya Maddox, 32, of Germantown, who uses a wheelchair, said she can't rely on cabs or Uber, which is of particular concern providing care for her 5-year-old son, who has asthma.

"If there's an emergency at night, I have to call the ambulance for him - then I have to get dressed and take the bus," she said. "Sometimes I want to be able to just get up and go, and I can't do that."

Judge Carpenter scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the injunction for July 22.

"Judge Carpenter's order does not invalidate our agreement with the PPA in any way," said Uber spokesman Craig Ewer. "We look forward to serving Philadelphia during the DNC and throughout the summer."



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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
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