Photographer: Victor J. Blue /Bloomberg

Uber, Lyft Told by Judge to Stop Some Philadelphia Services

  • State court judge issues ruling, effective Thursday at noon
  • Temporary authorization from state expired last week

Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. were told by a judge they must stop operating some of their ride-hailing services in the city of Philadelphia.

State court Judge Linda Carpenter’s order Thursday follows the expiration last week of a temporary authorization issued by the Pennsylvania General Assembly for the companies to offer rides in the city. The order applies only to Uber’s Uber-X service. The Uber Black service has proper authorization from the city to operate.

Uber will remain available for riders and drivers in Philadelphia while it appeals the ruling, said spokesman Craig Ewer.

“This situation makes it clear that Harrisburg needs to act,” Ewer said, referring to lawmakers in the state capital. “Pennsylvania must have permanent, statewide ride-sharing legislation as soon as possible.”

The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed in July by Ron Blount, a representative for taxi drivers and the Taxi Workers Alliance, accusing the Philadelphia Parking Authority of cutting a secret deal with the ride-hailing companies to allow them to operate.

The PPA said in a statement Thursday that the companies’ point-to-point services are now illegal.

“The court determined that those services are unconstitutional and violate state laws and local ordinances,” Dennis Weldon Jr., PPA’s general counsel, said in the statement. “The authority will comply with all lawful orders of the court and is continuing to review this matter.”

Chelsea Harrison, a spokeswoman for Lyft, said the company wasn’t involved in the case before Carpenter and wasn’t given the opportunity to respond.

“We are reviewing the order and evaluating our legal options,” Harrison said in an e-mail.

‘Here to Stay’

State Representative Maria Donatucci, head of the Philadelphia delegation to the House, said legislators on both sides of the aisle are hoping to pass a comprehensive bill during the legislative session that begins Oct. 17.

Transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft “are here to stay,” Donatucci said Thursday in an interview. “We need to work out how they operate. It’s time. We need to do something.”

The case is Blount v. The Philadelphia Parking Authority, 160700831, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, First Judicial District of Pennsylvania Civil Trial Division (Philadelphia).

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.