ISSUE | FOR-HIRE RIDES

Uber, Lyft are safe

Emails between taxi medallion owners and the Philadelphia Parking Authority have revealed a too-cozy relationship between the regulated and the regulator ("Taxis, PPA join against Uber," Thursday). Shrugging it off as business as usual only justifies bad behavior.

Competition, innovation, and consumer choice provide incentives for businesses to offer better service. Regulatory agencies have an important role. However, it is time to ask questions when they're caught protecting turf and coordinating backroom deals with the industry they're supposed to regulate, at consumers' expense.

PPA Executive Director Vince Fenerty wrote in a commentary that his primary concern has always been public safety ("Public safety, fairness drive ride-share concerns," Tuesday). He said there was no assurance that UberX or Lyft drivers have been trained or have had their driving records or backgrounds checked.

That's not true. Uber and Lyft drivers are screened by third-party, certified professionals for criminal offenses and driving incidents on national and county databases and local courthouse records. Pennsylvania law requires a check for moving violations and drunken driving.

Rather than pretending to "level the playing field" and forcing innovators to knuckle under, the PPA should focus on encouraging the taxicab industry to raise its game.

|Steve DelBianco, executive director, NetChoice; McLean, Va.; sdelbianco@netchoice.org

Boot the PPA and allow freedom of choice

The PPA wants to hold us captive to filthy rattle traps sometimes driven by surly men. This 50-year tax-paying resident is entitled to freedom of choice, also known as the Uber phenomenon. Free enterprise equals competition equals constitutional rights. Do not let the PPA oversee a monopoly.

|Kelly Wolfington, Philadelphia