Bill to legalize UberX and Lyft in Philly clears last legislative hurdle
The Pennsylvania Senate approved Monday a bill to legalize UberX and Lyft in Philadelphia.
The bill would set regulations for ride-hailing apps in the city, relax rules for cabs, and set a quota for wheelchair-accessible vehicles. The vote Monday night was 47-1, with Sen. Jay Costa as the holdout, said Sen. Camera Bartolotta, the bill's sponsor.
"These companies offer customers a new level of convenience that has never been available before," she said, "but with that innovation comes a responsibility to ensure that passengers and drivers are protected."
The vote was the bill's last legislative hurdle. Gov. Wolf is expected to sign the measure.
The bill also would confirm the ride-sharing industry's legality statewide. A temporary authorization was set to expire at the end of 2016.
Once signed into law, the bill will immediately place UberX and Lyft in Philadelphia under the Philadelphia Parking Authority's oversight. Uber's peer-to-peer driving service debuted in Philadelphia two years ago. The company, along with Lyft, engaged in a tug-of-war with the PPA over regulation. The city's cab industry reported a big drop in revenue and the value of medallions in the last two years.
In Philadelphia, two-thirds of revenue from a 1.4 percent tax per ride would go to the Philadelphia School District, and the other third to the PPA. Over 11 weeks this summer UberX and Lyft reported making about $53 million in the city. The tax issue created much debate, with some legislators fighting efforts to change the tax to favor the PPA.
"We're pleased that the compromise legislation includes a distribution of tax revenue that favors the School District," said Ben Waxman, spokesman for Sen. Vincent Hughes (D., Phila.).