Taxi, limo and Uber Black drivers plan on boycotting the Democratic National Convention if the city does not address Lyft and UberX services operating illegally in the city since 2014.
In a release sent out Monday, the Philadelphia Limousine Association, in conjunction with the Philadelphia Cab Association, said drivers would refuse to pick people up during the convention July 25-28 if the city doesn't crack down on the operators. Ali Razak, head of the Limousine Association, said drivers would instead protest outside of the Convention Center.
Khalid Alvi, President of the Philadelphia Cab Association, which represents thousands of drivers in the city, said the impact would be great. "We have the majority of drivers with us," Alvi said.
The threatened boycott is the latest following a series of outcries in recent months. Cab drivers laid on their horns and blocked traffic near City Hall in December and February protesting the non-professional ride share drivers who are able to work without paying for a yearly special license in the city, siphoning profits and skirting some regulations.
"They operate without any oversight, fail to serve the disabled, engage in so-called "surge pricing", do not have to pay for any licenses to operate in the city and do not guarantee minimum wage" Razak writes in the release. "This behavior violates labor laws and is anti-small business."
In Harrisburg, lawmakers are looking at legislation to regulate the companies and create a more level playing field. Meanwhile Uber and Lyft continue to grow in popularity in Philadelphia.
Not every cab driver in the city is on board with the boycott.
Ronald Blount, executive director of the Taxi Workers Alliance, a taxi driver advocacy group which also claims to represent thousands of drivers, said he's against the move. "We're not going to hurt our city like that," Blount said. "We think there are other ways to go about this."
Mayor Kenney's spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt said the administration has met with the authors of the release as well as the Let Philly Ride campaign.
"Following the meeting, we issued a public statement calling on Harrisburg to pass appropriate regulations on ridesharing services, since the Mayor doesn't have the legislative authority to do so." Hitt said in a statement. "We're hopeful state legislation will be passed in advance of the Convention."