Uber Strikes Deal in Philadelphia As Trains Fail

The Internet Law Resource Center™ is the complete information solution for practitioners in cyberlaw. Follow the latest developments on ICANN’s gTLD program, keyword advertising, online privacy,...

By Leslie A. Pappas

July 7 — Uber Technologies Inc. may operate legally in Philadelphia under an agreement reached with the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA), the two jointly announced July 7.

The deal will let Uber to operate all of its transit services, including uberX, uberXL, and uberPOOL in Philadelphia County through Sept. 30.

“In authorizing Uber’s ridesharing platform in Philadelphia, the PPA is taking a major step forward to help alleviate the significant stress on our transportation system at a time when Philadelphia needs it most,” said Jon Feldman, general manager of Uber Pennsylvania, according to a transcript of remarks he presented at the press conference.

The agreement comes just days after the city's regional transit authority, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), had to pull one-third of its rail fleet out of service due to a structural defect found in its Silverliner V Regional Rail cars. SEPTA says repairs could take weeks or months. The service disruption has led to jammed-packed trains, clogged highways, and severe delays as rush-hour commuters shift to cars or compete for limited trains.

The agreement would help alleviate transit problems now and through the upcoming Democratic National Convention, Uber and the parking authority said.

PPA Executive Director Vince Fenerty said the parking authority would also work with other ride-sharing companies during the rail disruption and the upcoming Democratic National Convention, according to a posting on the PPA's website July 7.

As part of the agreement, the company and the PPA agreed to resolve all existing legal disputes surrounding uberX and uberPOOL in Philadelphia from Oct. 24, 2014 to the present. The PPA agreed to suspend all enforcement actions against Uber drivers, and both agreed not to file any further lawsuits against the other related to taxi services.

Uber has been the target of lawsuits from dozens of cab companies in the city. Taxi drivers have alleged the Uber had an unfair advantage when operating in the city because it avoids local taxicab regulations (21 ECLR 364, 3/16/16).

Uber's operations outside of Philadelphia are authorized and regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission.

To contact the reporter on this story: Leslie A. Pappas in Philadelphia at lpappas@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.