We don’t hear from Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission all that often these days, since they ceded control of Philadelphia’s taxicabs to the Philadelphia Parking Authority 10 years ago. But now, the state agency, which tends to spend most of its time regulating the telecommunication and energy industries in Pennsylvania, has popped up with complaints about Uber, the San Francisco-based car service company that has built a fiercely loyal following in the Philadelphia region.
On Monday, the Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement within the PUC petitioned the agency to issue a cease-and-desist order against Uber over its UberX service.
Unlike regular Uber, which pairs riders with licensed limousine drivers, UberX pairs them with non-professional drivers, and many questions have been raised over rider safety.
UberX operates in Philadelphia’s suburbs but not within the city itself due to PPA regulations. The PPA jettisoned SideCar, a service similar to UberX, from Philadelphia in 2013.
The PUC says that UberX drivers do not possess the Certificates of Public Convenience that the commission requires of anyone providing passenger service, and the Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement has already proposed a $1,000-per-day fine for Uber.
After the agency filed a complaint on June 5th, “Uber brazenly continued, and presently continues, to broker transportation using uncertified motor carriers,” reads the PUC’s petition. “If Uber is permitted to operate in this manner, who won’t be?”
But Uber has told Pittsburgh’s Post-Gazette that it has no plans to leave Pennsylvania. Hearings are scheduled for later this month, and the petition indicates that Uber has five days to formally respond.
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