The Philadelphia Parking Authority opened a new legal front against the taxi service UberX on Friday, seeking about $300,000 in fines - about $1,000 a day for the last 10 months - for illegally operating a taxi service in the city.
The complaint, filed in a PPA administrative law court, also seeks to have the UberX service, which started here in October, "barred from use in the city of Philadelphia."
The PPA court is staffed by two retired Common Pleas Court judges, and its decisions can be legally enforced, Vince Fenerty, the Parking Authority's executive director, said Friday. Any appeal of this complaint would be made in Common Pleas Court, he said.
Taylor Bennett, a representative of San Francisco-based Uber Technologies Inc., declined to comment on the complaint but noted that "we will continue to defend our driver partners' right to economic opportunity and our riders' right to greater choice."
In the complaint, the PPA says Uber announced in April that it had provided one million UberX rides in Philadelphia. "UberX is continuing to operate illegally," Fenerty said Friday. "No one is regulating them."
The PPA regulates taxi and limousine services in Philadelphia and has opposed UberX's continued operation, saying UberX cars are not inspected and drivers are not trained. In previous enforcement actions, PPA has impounded UberX cars, fined UberX drivers, and fined Uber itself for operating an illegal dispatch service in the city, Fenerty said.
Friday's complaint says that inspectors with the PPA's Taxicab and Limousine Division summoned UberX drivers with smartphone apps for rides 51 times over the last 10 months and paid with credit cards.
"The drivers who responded to the above ride requests and provided common carrier service did not have the rights to transport persons for compensation within Philadelphia," the complaint claims.
In November, the Public Utility Commission approved UberX for operation in all areas of Pennsylvania except Philadelphia because of the PPA's regulatory jurisdiction in the city.