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Philly taxi chief heads to court to stop PPA’s Uber deal

The restraining order was filed Tuesday in the Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia.

UPDATED 9:30 p.m.

The head of Philadelphia’s taxi alliance is trying to get a judge to stop a deal between Uber and the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Ron Blount, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, filed a restraining order Tuesday in the Court of Common Pleas. It’s a bid to halt an arrangement that temporarily stops the PPA from its two-year crusade to keep UberX cars — which the authority views as “hack cabs” — from operating in Philadelphia. Judge Linda Carpenter declined to grant the injunction today and scheduled an evidentiary hearing for July 22.

They argued not that UberX should necessarily be illegal but that the PPA didn’t have the authority to bypass the Pennsylvania legislature and let it operate in Philly. Blount is joined in the suit by Matthew Clark, a member of a disability group of Uber, Lyft and taxi drivers and Taxis for All Philadelphia, and Vincent Wilson. 

 

In the filing, Blount and the other petitioners wrote the agreement would “adversely affect and harm taxi, limousine, Uber Black drivers, riders with disabilities, the Philadelphia School District and the public interest.”  

Blount could not be reached for comment. Vince Fenerty, executive director of the PPA, said he was aware of the filed injunction but could not further comment.

“My attorneys are in court right now,” he said.

The regulatory authority and the ridesharing service came to an agreement last week, when commuters learned that a third of the Regional Rail fleet would come off-line for months after problems were found with some of its cars.

Uber later told reporters it was investing $2.5 million in the months-long effort, in a bid to keep surge pricing to a minimum and increase the number of drivers available for UberX and UberPOOL trips.

After the agreement was made official last week, Blount promised “complete chaos” from cab drivers during the DNC.

The lawsuit marks a drastic turn in relations between the PPA and taxicabs. When UberX first launched in 2014, the PPA held stings against the drivers. The Daily News later revealed collusion between the PPA and cab companies to keep UberX illegal in Philly.

We’ll update this story as it develops.

PPA motion by Billy Penn on Scribd

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