Airport Taxis Will Soon Cost Even More for Some Philadelphians

The wallets South Philly and West Philly residents are about to become the latest casualties of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.

On Wednesday morning, the PPA announced a plan to expand the flat-rate cab fare zone for airport trips. According to numbers compiled by BillyPenn, those living in the newly covered areas could see an increase in airport fare of as much as $5 once required to pay the flat rate. Read more »

Here’s Why Uber Rates Went Up in Philly This Week

Image via Flickr.

Beginning Tuesday, Uber riders in Philly paid higher rates for rides due to a new effort by the company to provide drivers with insurance should they get harmed on the job.

Pennsylvania is one of eight states involved in the pilot program led by insurance companies OneBeacon and Aon headquartered in the UK. Uber drivers in the state now have the option to buy the injury insurance that will cost them 3.75 center per mile and consumers an extra 5 cents per mile.

“We believe drivers should have a low-cost option to protect themselves and their families against rare and unforeseen accidents that prevent them from working,” said Uber spokesman Craig Ewer. “We are partnering to pilot an insurance product that allows drivers to access peace of mind for a few cents a mile, directly through the Uber app.”  Read more »

One City in Pennsylvania is Poised to Crush the 21st Century …

Photo via Dave DiCello/visit pittsburgh

Photo via Dave DiCello/visit pittsburgh

I came to Pittsburgh to see the future.

On a blustery late-winter morning with a light whorl of snowflakes falling near the banks of the Allegheny River, Sarah, a friendly young PR person for Uber, opened the rear passenger door of a Volvo SUV that had so much electronic gear installed on the roof, it looked like it was wearing a crown. She gestured for me to take a seat. We were in the parking lot of Uber Advanced Technologies Group, a converted restaurant-equipment warehouse just north of downtown. I was about to have a very special Uber ride, and not just because it was free.

I buckled up, and the Volvo headed out on a few blocks of 33rd Street that run under a hulking railroad trestle — an unsubtle symbol of the city’s heralded industrial past. The car turned toward downtown and headed into the bustling Strip District. We went a few miles and then circled back on Smallman Street to the Uber warehouse, which is situated in a part of Pittsburgh that recently has become such a magnet for tech research that one think-tank maven described it to me as “where you really feel you’re in the 21st century.”

The ride took maybe 15 minutes and was uneventful except for a needless stop for a double-parked delivery truck outside one of the Strip’s many food stores and some hard braking when an impatient idiot passed us on the right. I can’t say much more about it because Uber wouldn’t let me in the door unless I signed an imposing confidentiality agreement, and Sarah reminded me several times, in her very friendly way, that the whole trip was “on background.” But I think I can reveal this: Though there was someone in the driver’s seat, for most of the trip the car drove itself. Read more »

Uber to Pay Pa. $3.5M to Settle Dispute Over Illegal Operation

Image via Flickr.

Image via Flickr.

Before Governor Tom Wolf passed ridesharing legislation last November, ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft operated illegally across parts of Pennsylvania. On Thursday, Uber finally agreed to pay $3.5 million to the state’s general fund to settle its dispute with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission over its period of illegal operation.

According to the settlement agreement, the Commission originally imposed a civil penalty of about $11.4 million. Uber rejected the orders, claiming the Commission exceeded its jurisdiction by regulating its activities. The Commission maintains that it had jurisdiction over the company’s services, and Uber failed to obtain a license to operate between February 2014 and August 2014. The ridesharing company also allegedly operated for a month after a cease-and-desist order from PUC.  Read more »

Philly Uber Drivers Get Behind Local Union

Uber: You Should Have Humanity

On Friday, a group of Philly Uber drivers announced their plans to align with a local union in an effort to collectively voice their concerns against the conflict-ridden ridesharing company.

The Inquirer reports that the decision to unionize came as Uber refunded millions of dollars to Philly Uber drivers after the company overcharged the drivers in commission. And Uber also told the Philly drivers that they’d be increasing the commission charge by five percent going forward.

“Due to an error in our system, an updated service fee addendum was never released to you in the driver app as it should have been,” the company told drivers in an email. “Because of this error we are refunding you 5% plus interest for all UberBlack trips completed from Aug. 26, 2015, until March 2, 2017.”

The email also stated: “You will also receive a new addendum in the driver app stating that the correct service fee for UberBlack is 25%, which you will be charged going forward.” Read more »

La Salle and Uber Team Up to Bring Students Safety and Convenience

La Salle - stacks in the library

Students at La Salle library. Photo by Matthew Chverchko, courtesy La Salle University.

La Salle University has partnered up with Uber to bring students discounted rides. The pilot program will last from now until March 7th. Students can travel between an established pickup location at La Salle’s School of Business to be dropped off at the Olney Transportation Center for a flat rate of $1.99. The distance is just less than a mile.

As Newsworks reports, the partnership is first of its kind and is already addressing some problems for La Salle’s commuter population. La Salle has a campus shuttle that runs every 20 minutes and makes a stop at the Olney Transportation Center, but it stops running at 2 a.m. on weekdays and at 3 a.m. on weekends. Some students walk the distance but see the partnership as a way to bolster safety and convenience. Read more »

Uber and Lyft Give Philly Schools a Boost for the First Time

Promotional photos from the press kits of Uber (left) and Lyft

Promotional photos from the press kits of Uber (left) and Lyft

Data released by the School District of Philadelphia on Thursday show that Uber and Lyft, which were both illegal at one point in Philadelphia, brought in more than $44 million in their first two months of legal operation across the state, according to the Inquirer. And, in the first fruits of a tax agreement, school leaders announced that the district would receive nearly $358,000 from the ride-sharing companies.

Legislation signed by Gov. Wolf in November that allowed the companies to operate statewide included a 1.4 percent levy on each ride provided through the companies’ apps. Previously, when Uber and Lyft operated under a temporary court reprieve, they were taxed at just 1 percent per ride. Read more »

Uber Unveils Subscription Service Test for Philly Riders

Uber app display during DNC in Philadelphia. | Photo by Fabiola Cineas

Uber app display during DNC in Philadelphia. | Photo by Fabiola Cineas

As if Amazon Prime, Spotify and Netflix subscriptions weren’t enough, here’s another service we might all be adding to monthly expenses soon: Uber just began offering Philly commuters a ride-sharing subscription service that will allow users to pay their fares up front, the Inquirer reports.

The rates may be significantly cheaper than your current transportation costs. Subscribers pay a monthly fee in exchange for a package of trips at reduced, flat fares. On UberX, subscribers can request a ride anywhere within a 389-square-mile area for no more than $4.49. With UberPool, the deal is even cheaper: You won’t ever pay more than $2.49 a ride. Package deals range from 10 rides for $5 to 40 rides for $20 over a month. And the fixed deals mean that surge pricing won’t ever interfere. Read more »

Here’s the Uber Driver Charged With Attacking His Passenger in Philly

Left: Former Uber driver Major Fuller. (University of Pennsylvania Police Department) Right: Cherry Hill resident Joseph Fusco, the man Fuller stands accused of beating.

Left: Former Uber driver Major Fuller. (University of Pennsylvania Police Department) Right: Cherry Hill resident Joseph Fusco, the man Fuller stands accused of beating.

Last week, we told you that police were looking for the Uber driver who allegedly assaulted his passenger after a pickup in University City, and now we’ve learned that investigators have made an arrest. Read more »

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