Midstate cab companies not Uber excited over possibility of ride-share apps

Some midstate cab companies are not excited about ride-share apps driving in town. 

On Wednesday the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission granted the ride-share company ‘Lyft’ an emergency permit to operate in Allegheny County. This is after a long battle between Pittsburgh Cab Companies and the app-based Lyft and ‘Uber’

Both companies have now applied for state-wide ‘experimental’ permits to operate in Pennsylvania on the basis that there are no categories that the modern services fall under in PUC guidelines.

Uber and Lyft have been highly successful in larger cities like San Francisco and New York City, and have now expanded into numerous mid-sized cities.

“An experimental permit that each company is seeking would allow them to operate legally as a motor carrier statewide,” said Robin Talley, Spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.  

She said Friday that safety is the bottom line, “Knowing that the drivers have background checks and that they don’t have felonies on their record knowing the vehicles have been inspected.”

The PUC sets regulations for taxi-drivers everywhere except Philadelphia.

One Harrisburg cab driver who did not want to be named, said that there is already enough competition for a too-small customer base.

“You’ve got lots of people out hear trying to feed their family,” she said.

She also echoed what the PUC said in terms of safety. Taxi drivers are required to have background checks and their cars must be properly insured and registered. This driver wondered who would be checking up on Uber/Lyft drivers.

Off-camera several other drivers told Abc27 that they hope the ride-share companies are permitted to pick-up in town. That way, they say they can leave the companies they work for and earn their own money driving their own car.

A decision by the PUC is expected in late September.

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