Lyft

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

Just two years ago, your options for getting a ride in Pittsburgh were pretty much limited to public transportation, taxis, or for those in higher income brackets, executive car services and limousines.

But when ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft rode into town in with their slick mobile apps, quick response times and, in the case of Lyft, their hot pink mustaches, a sea change that had already taken hold in cities such as San Francisco and New York began closing in on the Steel City.

Nearly two weeks after granting a two-year experimental license to Uber, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) did the same Thursday for Lyft, the other major ridesharing service in the state.

The commission voted 5-0 to approve Lyft’s compliance plan, which was mandated by the Dec. 18 order which granted an experimental license if Lyft demonstrated that it was meeting  specific conditions to ensure driver integrity, vehicle safety and insurance protections.

Ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber have been granted temporary operating licenses in the Pittsburgh area, but it’s still up the Public Utility Commission to determine if they should be granted permanent permission to operate, and whether regulatory changes are needed to fit them into the transportation landscape.

A PUC hearing Thursday tackled the issue.

“I think that it would be embarrassing if we step back and say ‘no, we’re not going to accept this innovation,’” said state Rep. Erin Molchany.

The state Public Utility Commission has approved emergency permits for two ride-sharing companies that have been operating in the Pittsburgh area.
 
The companies have come under fire over concerns that drivers, their vehicles and their insurance don't meet regulations for taxi cabs and other similar services. The companies have argued their services are just as safe but have been targeted because they don't fit neatly into current public transportation regulations.
 

The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission continues to try stopping ridesharing services Uber and Lyft from operating in the Pittsburgh area, often citing that the drivers are not regulated by the state, which is a safety concern.

This prompted one Pittsburgh man to look into a major safety issue – driving under the influence.

“Under that safety argument I decided to look into DUIs, arguably one of biggest dangers on the road, this could have been having a profound change in that area,” said Nate Good.

Jessica Nath / 90.5 WESA

Mayor Bill Peduto lifted his cell phone up, showing the Lyft and Uber apps on his screen.

“I don’t drive them, but I use them,” Peduto said. “I’ve used them both in the city of Pittsburgh and also in Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. It’s very easy to use.”

Montgomery County Planning Commission / Flickr

Right now, most Pittsburghers use their car to get around, but that may change in the near future. First of all, the city lacks sufficient parking, especially downtown. But new transportation options backed by the mayor will make it easier to get around “tahn” without owning a car. Mayor Peduto stopped by Essential Pittsburgh to focus on the city’s transportation goals going forward.

The most immediate issue the mayor has been dealing with was the Uber/Lyft dispute. Peduto said he is behind the two ride sharing companies and calls the ongoing dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission "dysfunctional."

The ride-sharing company Uber has asked the Public Utility Commission (PUC) for an emergency permit, which would allow the company to resume experimental service.

State Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) started drafting legislation last week that would legalize ride-sharing in Pennsylvania.

State legislators are preparing a measure that would allow ride-sharing services such as Lyft and Uber to operate in Pennsylvania, days after administrative judges with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) ordered the companies to cease operations.

Sen. Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) has already drafted a bill that would lessen the PUC's regulations on background checks, insurance, vehicle inspections, and most importantly, licensing.

Lyft

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has slammed the brakes on ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber in Pittsburgh effective immediately.

PUC Administrative Law judges have granted the emergency petition by the PUC Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement to issue cease-and-desist orders for the companies.

The two-judge panel wrote that they were not “blind or deaf to the public opinion,” but that the commission’s duty to ensure public safety is more important than the convenience of the companies.

Two administrative law judges have agreed with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to force two ride-share companies to stop operating in Pittsburgh.

The judges issued their rulings Tuesday, five days after PUC attorneys argued that Lyft and Uber are violating state rules that govern paid transportation services.

Uber, Lyft and other ride-share companies use smartphone apps to dispatch drivers who use their own personal vehicles.

Regulators want two ride-sharing companies to stop doing business in Pennsylvania.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement is pursing cease-and-desist orders against San Francisco-based ride-share companies Lyft and Uber.

The companies have five days to respond.

Growing popularity and the support of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto were not enough to prevent ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber from getting hit with five and six figure fines by the Pennsylvania Utility Commission (PUC) last Thursday.

Undercover Officer Tickets Uber, Lyft Drivers

Apr 25, 2014

The state Public Utility Commission (PUC) is cracking down on ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber for operating without licenses in Pittsburgh.

From the end of March through April 21, the PUC issued 23 tickets to Lyft and Uber drivers ranging in amount from $25 to $300 plus court costs.

An undercover PUC enforcement officer was sent to retrieve rides using the services’ smartphone applications, and once the rides were over, the officer submitted the tickets to the local District Justice’s office.

Trending on the 412 Blog and What You Need To Know About Ride-Sharing

Apr 8, 2014
Marnie Schleicher / 90.5 WESA

  Sean Conboy online editor at Pittsburgh Magazine's 412 Blog breaks down trending topics in Pittsburgh, from social mobility to dining trends, Google Fiber, and most notably, the ride-sharing services Lyft and Uber

“Basically it’s taking what people see as a jitney sort of service and actually taking it into the 21st century,” Conboy said about Uber and Lyft.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

In recent weeks, two ride-sharing services have launched in Pittsburgh – Lyft and Uber.

Both offer paid rides available through a smart phone app. Shortly after their launch, the Pittsburgh Transportation Group, which owns Yellow Cab, asked Mayor Bill Peduto to pass an ordinance cracking down on such services. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission made a similar request of Peduto.

Ride-sharing Lyft cars have been on Pittsburgh streets for less than a week. You might have seen them—they’re the ones with the bright pink mustaches.

Now, those behind the city’s largest transportation companies are reaching out to Mayor Bill Peduto to crack down on what they say amounts to an illegal taxi service.

James Campolongo, president and CEO of Pittsburgh Transportation Group, which owns Yellow Cab, partnered with the head of Star Transportation Group, Robert Delucia, in writing a letter to Peduto asking him to pass an ordinance to crack down on Lyft.