Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™
Now that the last shreds of wrapping paper have been vacuumed up and the good dishes are finally put away, we revisit our time-honored tradition of taking a look back at the year and the losers, miscreants, and ne’er-do-wells it spawned. (For a more optimistic view of Philadelphia, consider Holly Otterbein‘s Biggest Winners of 2016.)
The once-lovable former champion of the everyman now spends his time being largely irrelevant and making facepalm-worthy comments in places like the Washington Post. But when you’re pulling in a cool $5,000 each month to do virtually nothing for a casino in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you probably don’t care. Read more »
A bill to legalize UberX and Lyft in Pennsylvania permanently is reaching the final stages in the state legislature this week. The bill can’t come soon enough for the ride-hailing companies, which have endured a two-year battle for the right to operate in the city. They experienced temporary success this past summer when Act 85 granted them a grace period set in place largely because of the Democratic National Convention in July and the SEPTA Regional Rail service suspension. Read more »
Uber app display during DNC in Philadelphia. | Photo by Fabiola Cineas
All good things come to an end.
Now that Uber and Lyft’s short and sweet grace period has ended with the expiration of Act 85, the Philadelphia Parking Authority has announced that it fully intends to resume enforcement against the ride-sharing companies – as well as lift several regulations against the taxi industry. Read more »
An UberX car getting impounded by the PPA in 2015.
A federal judge has dismissed most of the claims brought by a coalition of Philly taxi companies against Uber, the popular app-centric “ride share” service.
The portions of the lawsuit dismissed included claims that Uber provides unfair competition by providing ride services without complying with taxi cab licensing and regulatory requirements, as well as allegations of racketeering and false advertising. Read more »
(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from guest writer Hannah Sassaman.)
Today, I’m 38 weeks pregnant. While I’m mildly (to hugely) unprepared for the roller coaster I know will hit when labor starts, my little family of three is excited to grow. One resource I’ve considered tapping for our ride to the hospital — a resource that has entered the scene since my daughter was born — is Uber.
I labored with my daughter through Hurricane Irene in August of 2011. Our neighbors’ leaf-stuffed gutters overflowed through our window casings, bringing the storm into my bedroom as I paced through my contractions. By the time we were ready to go to the hospital, the only bridge left open between my West Philly home and Center City — taking us to Pennsylvania Hospital, more than 40 blocks away — was Chestnut Street. My husband drove at less than 10 miles per hour through the eye of the storm, through quiet, wet, humid streets.
For this round, we’ve been seriously considering skipping the drive and using Uber to get to the hospital. Uber has a killer mobile app, and payments happen automatically. It’s easy to see why the business has been growing exponentially around the world.
But Uber has its own risks for me and other Philadelphians — including marked discrimination against people who use wheelchairs, people with service animals, and, now, pregnant women in labor. Read more »
Promotional photos from the press kits of Uber (left) and Lyft
If you’re going to be in Philadelphia this weekend, your options for getting around are slim. SEPTA is barely running as of 4 a.m. Saturday, and we expect that the remaining transit services won’t make it through Winter Storm Jonas unscathed. Plus, the city just announced that its bike-sharing service IndeGo will be unavailable — though, really, you’d have to be kind of out of your mind. But if you’re an Uber or Lyft customer, you may be in luck. Drivers for both services are expected to be working throughout the weekend. Read more »
Philadelphia cab driver Arshad Khan in the hospital after the December paintball attack.
The family of a Philadelphia cab driver who was blinded in one eye after a paintball attack has launched an online fundraising page seeking assistance. Read more »
Cab company co-owner Boris Kautsky is taking Uber to federal court. (Photo courtesy Sergei Lemberg)
Back in 1991, Boris and Alla Kautsky left their home in Ukraine and came to the United States as refugees in search of the American dream, eventually settling in Philadelphia where they started their own cab company. But 25 years after arriving in the U.S., they now say that their dream has become a nightmare, and they place the blame squarely on Uber. Through their cab company CoachTrans, the Kautskys have filed a federal lawsuit in Philadelphia against the transportation technology company seeking at least $1.5 million in damages. Read more »
With horns blaring and marchers chanting “No UberX! No Lyft!” hundreds of Philadelphia cab drivers converged on City Hall with their vehicles to demand that laws cab drivers must follow regarding insurance, licensing and training be enforced with the aforementioned ride-sharing services as well. Joining in the protest that snarled lunchtime traffic for blocks around City Hall were drivers for UberBLACK, the limousine service that uses the same sharing technology as UberX but which is regulated by the Philadelphia Parking Authority as the cabs are. Read more »
My UberX driver alternates between texting and eating her ice cream sundae.
When, in October of last year, Uber announced that its cheaper-than-a-taxi UberX service was finally available in Philadelphia, most of us were delighted. In addition to being significantly less expensive than Philly’s cabs, UberX was also significantly better. Read more »