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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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 »
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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Just hours after the Philadelphia Parking Authority impounded five UberX vehicles, saying that UberX is operating illegally in Philadelphia, UberX has responded with a statement, calling the PPA action a “deplorable charade.”
Here is the full statement:
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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 »
UPDATE 10/26 1:50 p.m.: The Philadelphia Parking Authority has impounded UberX vehicles through an undercover sting operation. For the full report, go here.
On Friday afternoon, the scads of Uber customers in the Philadelphia area received an email announcing the arrival of UberX, the company’s lower-cost alternative, within city limits. The company explained that it had decided to thrust UberX upon the city due to a convoluted situation that may have left hundreds of Philadelphia taxicabs without the insurance they need to operate. Read more »
Here’s a rendering from the Philadelphia Parking Authority of its vision for the future of 8th and Filbert. See the happy tourist taking photos? That person is noticeably absent in today’s dystopia.
Before/after image via PPA.
Ah, we kid, we kid. Below, a slideshow of the entire transformation to come.
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If you live in Philadelphia or park in it on occasion, you necessarily hate the Philadelphia Parking Authority and its trolling band of uniformed parking enforcers, who make your life miserable with their little handheld parking ticket generators and their unique inability to offer an ounce of human compassion or empathy. But the thing is, they’re almost always right.
Earlier this week, crusty Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky offered the world a story about a man who supposedly got a parking ticket before he even had a chance to get out of the car and feed the meter. It was one of those generic “The PPA Sucks!” PPA-indictment stories that pop up on a fairly regular basis and that are always good for lots of righteous indignation. As of Thursday morning, Bykofsky’s story had generated over 150 comments.
But I was unmoved, because all Bykofsky had was one man’s word that this had happened, and in my experience with people and their parking tickets, either people lie outright or the truth is somewhere in the middle. Or they outwardly admit that they were “technically” in the wrong but that they still shouldn’t have received a ticket and that, oh yeah, THE PPA SUCKS!
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Photograph by Jeff Fusco
Early one morning in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a few months ago, I hopped in a cab and asked the driver to take me to Logan Airport, eight miles away. He asked me how to get there. That was the first bad sign. The second bad sign was that he abruptly changed his mind about needing my help and decided to chart the course himself. Thirty minutes later, we were still in the car, making a beeline for Rhode Island. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Not long before, another out-to-lunch driver had piloted the trip to Logan at a pace so slow, I actually had to check to see if he was awake.
The point of all this is not that Boston-area cabdrivers are horrific. It’s my anecdotal “Exhibit A” in the case of Simon van Zuylen-Wood v. All the Delusional Philadelphians Who Don’t Appreciate Their Fantastic Taxis. Bitching about cabs in Philly is roughly on par with Yay, the Shore and Boo, Phillies when it comes to broad, unspecific elevator-ride utterances nobody will ever disagree with.
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Illustration by Melissa McFeeters
A car is the ultimate entitlement machine — particularly when driven by a Philadelphian.
Can’t you hear it now? “Parking here is so expensive.” “Why is it so impossible to park in Queen Village?” “Seriously, is the Parking Authority a division of the Gestapo or something?”
Garbage, all of it. (Except, maybe, for the bit about the Parking Authority.) Read more »