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Judge orders UberX, Lyft to shut down in Philly

Update: The Philly ban on UberX and Lyft is over… for now.

Hours after a Philadelphia judge effectively ordered UberX and Lyft to shut down operations in the city, both ride-sharing services announced they would keep operating in defiance of the law.

Uber released a statement Thursday night saying it is appealing the court’s decision and remaining available in Philadelphia for riders and drivers. Lyft announced it is doing the same, adding that it was given no opportunity to be heard on the issue before today’s hearing.

“People in Pennsylvania want access to ride-sharing,” Lyft spokesperson Chelsea Harrison said in a statement, “and we remain committed to finding a statewide solution that keeps this modern option available across the state.”

Court of Common Pleas Judge Linda Carpenter issued the cease and desist order before noon Thursday. The ruling comes almost three months after Ron Blount, president of the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania, filed a restraining order to stop the ride-sharing services from operating.

Riders who use UberX will not be affected by the ruling. But the ride-sharing companies could be held in contempt of court. 

“This order makes it even more clear that the clock has run out for Harrisburg to pass a comprehensive ride-sharing bill,” said Uber spokesman Craig Ewer in a statement. “We’re calling upon leaders in the House to put ride-sharing to a vote as soon as possible.”

The Pennsylvania House does not reconvene until October 17.

Blount’s motion was a bid to halt an arrangement that temporarily stopped the Philadelphia Parking Authority from its two-year crusade to keep UberX cars — which the authority views as “hack cabs” — from operating in Philadelphia. That temporary truce between the PPA and UberX expired Saturday, Oct. 1.

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Blount said he was excited about the ruling but noted it would most likely be short-lived. He said he expects legislators to really start working on passing ride-sharing legislation when they meet again and get something passed by mid-November. He also expects the ride-sharing companies to appeal the court’s decision.

Blount’s lawsuit also challenged the ride-sharing companies for not having cars that are ADA accessible and said Carpenter stressed the importance of compliance in her decision.

“This ruling sends a critical message to legislators they have to take into consideration for people with disabilities,” Blount said. “This is going to help us get a fair bill.”

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