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 »

Uber Launches UberX In Philadelphia, But PPA Says “Not So Fast”

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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.

ORIGINAL:

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 »

Kenney Wants Council to Consider Approving Uber-Style Ride Sharing

Councilman Jim Kenney, reportedly thinking about a run for mayor, may be positioning himself as the city’s libertarian superhero.

Just weeks after his bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana got the approval of both the City Council and Mayor Nutter, Kenney has introduced a resolution calling for the Council to consider approving ride-sharing services like Uber, UberX, Lyft, and Sidecar for operation in Philadelphia.

State legislators are considering bills to legalize those services — and also considering whether Philadelphia, with its own extensive taxi service already operating, should be exempted from that authorization.
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SheRides, and 5 More Taxi Services Philly Needs Now

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Shutterstock.com

For as much as I avoid driving and exercise, I take a cab maybe once a month. Although most tend to think that this is the safest option for a single woman on her way home, at the risk of sounding like a paranoid cat lady, I’ve always thought that getting in a stranger’s car is a convenient way to end up in a stranger’s trunk.

Personally, I just feel safer on the El or the Green Line, where we have seemingly made a city-wide contract to be as weird as humanly possible during our time together, but to do so fairly harmlessly. (That is, when we aren’t attacking each other with hammers or kicking each other’s teeth in. I get it — it’s flawed logic, but it’s working for me.)

Would I feel differently if I was in New York, where SheRides is scheduled to roll out this week? Probably. An Uber-like cab service, SheRides (renamed from SheTaxi due to regulations in NYC) exclusively employs female drivers, who exclusively pick up female passengers. The idea is two-fold: Employ more women in an industry long-dominated by men, and make customers feel at ease — whether it’s religious or cultural norms that prevent them from getting into a cab with a man, or having seen too many Quentin Tarantino films.

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