As Lyft Launches, Taxi Association Issues Warning to Drivers

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Lyft — lauded just yesterday in a unanimous resolution by Philadelphia City Council — is scheduled to launch at 6 p.m. today, and, like UberX before it, over protestations and promises of impoundment from the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

Which is no doubt why we just received this rather ominous statement/warning to Lyft drivers from Dave Sutton of Who’s Driving You, a “public safety initiative of the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association”:

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City Council: We Want UberX, Lyft

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With ride-hailing service Lyft scheduled to launch today at 6 p.m. to compete with UberX, City Council yesterday passed a resolution that states in no uncertain terms that the city would like to see such services legal in Philadelphia.

When UberX launched here in October, chaos ensued, as the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which regulates taxi and limousine service in the city and considers such services illegal, impounded several cars of UberX drivers. The mayor urged peace; the president of the Pennsylvania Taxi Association compared UberX to Isis; the PPA suggested that drivers for the sanctioned Uber black-car service rat out UberX drivers; and things have been uneasy ever since.

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Lyft Is Launching in Philadelphia on Friday

Photo via Lyft

Photo via Lyft

Ride-hailing service Lyft announced today that it will launch its service in Philadelphia on Friday, January 30th. The company had been advertising for drivers in Philadelphia this month.

Lyft is the chief competitor to Uber. Lyft is not a premium “black car” service — it is more like UberX, where passengers get rides in cars that generally aren’t luxury vehicles. Lyft has rolled out a premium service in some areas. In anticipation of the rollout of Lyft, UberX lowered its prices by 35 percent a few days ago.

The service begins at 6 p.m. Friday. To use it, you’ll need the Lyft app.

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Your UberX Driver May Be a Deranged Killer (and May Charge You Surge Pricing)

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Since the Philadelphia Parking Authority impounded six UberX cars last weekend and then released them, there’s been nary a peep from the PPA about the controversial car service, which now seems to be operating with impunity here. I alone have used UberX several times this week within city limits, and it seems like the “cheaper-than-taxi” alternative is here to stay. Here’s what you need to know.

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PPA Releases Impounded UberX Cars

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Over the weekend, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which oversees all taxis and limousines in city limits, impounded six UberX cars in an undercover sting operation, saying that UberX was operating illegally here. Uber cried foul. Mayor Nutter told everybody to chill the heck out. And as of Tuesday at noon, the PPA had released four cars and said that they are expecting to release the remaining two shortly. Read more »

The PPA Is Right About UberX

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Thank you, Uber, for teaching our city a lesson.

Just this past week two friends of mine were out to dinner in South Philadelphia and needed a cab ride home. It was late. The restaurant was off a main road. There were no cabs around. One of my friends knew all this, so as he finished up the meal he did a very, very “bad” thing. He pulled up the Philadelphia Uber app on his iPhone and ordered an UberX vehicle. And here’s what happened.

The app was easy to use. The app worked fast. The app identified a vehicle for them. They tracked the progress of the car using the app’s GPS service. The car arrived within 10 minutes of being ordered. The car was clean. The driver was nice. He drove them to their destination. They securely paid with one click using the app. They got home safely.

According to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, the company, the driver, and I guess my friends if you want to really stretch it, broke the law.

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PPA Impounds UberX Vehicles in Undercover Sting Operation

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[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. Read more »

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