[UPDATE] Uber has issued a statement calling the PPA sting a “deplorable charade.”
[ORIGINAL] On Saturday, we told you that Uber had announced the arrival of UberX — the cheaper version of Uber — in Philadelphia proper and that the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which regulates all cabs and limousines in the city, was none too happy about it. “We will impound the vehicle,” a PPA investigator told us when asked if the PPA would be conducting an undercover sting similar to the one that kicked car service SideCar out of the city in 2013. And by Saturday night, the PPA made it clear that the agency wasn’t messing around.
An undercover sting on Saturday resulted in the impoundment of five vehicles operating under the UberX service. If you’re wondering what a PPA undercover sting operation looks like, a plainclothes PPA investigator pulls out a smartphone and requests an UberX car just like you would and then delivers the bad news after the pickup occurs.
“I almost felt sorry for two of the drivers,” says a senior PPA official, explaining that the drivers seemed to think that what they were doing was perfectly legal. “They both had the same exact story that they were told it was legal and that everything would be fine.”
If the UberX drivers want their cars back, they will have to pay the PPA a fine of $1,000 plus towing costs, or they can request a hearing, which could occur as early as Monday.
“What they are doing is illegal,” says the PPA source. “And until somebody tells me otherwise, our guys will be on the street to enforce the law.”
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