After nearly three months of peace, ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft will soon technically be illegal in Philadelphia yet again.
A budget agreement that authorized Uber and Lyft in July expires Sept. 30. Barring unexpected, last-minute movement on a bill that would permanently legalize ride-sharing, UberX and Lyft drivers could be pulled over by the PPA and have their car impounded, as had been the case for nearly two years before July.
“There is simply no reason to keep delaying legislative action on comprehensive ridesharing in Pennsylvania,” said Uber spokesperson Matthew Wing in a statement. “We were disappointed that the House did not pass legislation before the September 30 expiration of the authority in Philadelphia.”
The PPA and Uber expected the House to pass legislation by the end of the temporary agreement. In fact, Vince Fenerty, now the former executive director of the PPA, said in July the PPA had expected ride-sharing would be made legal before the House took its summer vacation in June. Both sides wanted to ride-sharing to be legal for the DNC. The Democratic National Committee and Uber had a deal encouraging delegates, media and politicians to use Uber.
The state Senate passed SB 984 last November, opening the door for the legalization of ride-sharing. After a few amendments, the bill was laid on the table of the House in May. It’s still there.
Wing said Uber will continue to work with legislators to get the bill passed. After today, the next time the House will be in session is Oct. 17. It meets for a total of six days in October and two days in November. Then the 2015-16 term ends. If the bill hasn’t passed by then, it would have to be reintroduced.
House Speaker Mike Turzai could not be reached for comment. Neither could PPA spokesperson Marty O’Rourke.
To say the PPA is dealing with other concerns would be an understatement. A week after the board chose to keep Fenerty on staff despite a sexual harassment claim, the board suspended Fenerty on Wednesday with the intent to fire him after another sexual harassment claim against him was revealed.