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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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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More ways to enjoy national ice cream month just keep on coming. And Uber car service wants to make your celebration a little bit easier, a little more whimsical and a little more spontaneous. If you find yourself with a hankering for a frozen treat on Friday July 18th between 11 a.m and 5 p.m, just open the uber app on your phone for instant access to on-demand ice cream. Wherever you are (in Philadelphia). I know what you’re thinking.
Are we being punk’d right now?
Nope. On-demand ice cream delivery is real and that makes us really happy.
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Computer wonk Nate Good recently released a few infographics about DUIs in Philly. Here’s the trend: From April 2013 to the end of the year, DUIs declined 11 percent. Looking at Good’s charts, DUIs have been trending downward for the last few years.
Anecdotally, this makes sense. First, the obvious: Mass transit ridership is way up — SEPTA had its highest ridership in 57 years in 2013 — and fewer people driving means fewer DUIs. But even if a side effect of fewer people driving is a reduction in DUIs, that’s a nice side effect.
Good is from Pittsburgh; there, he’s a proponent of (sigh) “e-hailing” services like Uber and Lyft. They were both recently banned in that city by the state’s Public Utilities Commission. He believes the drop in Philadelphia is partially due the ubiquity and availability of these apps. In Philadelphia, unlike Pittsburgh, the PPA regulates taxis — and only Sidecar was kicked out of Philly. (UberX, the company’s lower-cost option, only operates in South Jersey; Lyft doesn’t operate here.)
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The first cab driver I asked about the new Way2Ride payment app for Philadelphia taxicabs had no idea what I was talking about. The second held up his ancient flip phone, saying, “I don’t have no apps.” The third literally laughed at me. Read more »
We don’t hear from Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission all that often these days, since they ceded control of Philadelphia’s taxicabs to the Philadelphia Parking Authority 10 years ago. But now, the state agency, which tends to spend most of its time regulating the telecommunication and energy industries in Pennsylvania, has popped up with complaints about Uber, the San Francisco-based car service company that has built a fiercely loyal following in the Philadelphia region. Read more »
Uber is continuing its march across New Jersey by adding services for the South Jersey Shore, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.
Today the company announced that both regular Uber (what it calls Uber BLACK) and UberX will start rolling on Friday, and will be most active on Friday from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m.; Saturday from noon to 5 a.m.; and Sunday from noon to 3 a.m.. Ballpark prices put rides from Avalon to Sea Isle at $11 on uberX and $24 on Uber BLACK and from Sea Isle to Atlantic City at $56 on uberX and $118 on Uber BLACK — add more if you’re calling for an SUV in all cases.
My feelings are mixed.
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Nearly two years after Uber revolutionized transportation in Philadelphia with its popular car service app, the company is today officially debuting its cheaper UberX option in the region, with chef Marc Vetri scheduled to be the first UberX customer at 3:30 p.m.. The bad news: UberX is only available in South Jersey. (Vetri has a restaurant there.) Read more »
We’ve heard the complaints, “Zeppoli is too far.” “It’s in Jersey.” “You can’t get there without a car.” Of course these complaints ignore that Zeppoli is just a 16 minute drive from City Hall or a quick cab ride/pleasant walk from the Collingswood PATCO station. But this week it is even easier to get to and from Zeppoli, as UberX has rolled out in South Jersey. The ride-sharing alternative to cabs is also free this week.
No promo code is necessary and you can get up to five free rides worth up to $25 starting in Camden, Burlington, or Gloucester counties. And legally, the UberX ride could deliver you to Philadelphia from New Jersey.
So if you’ve been meaning to get to Zeppoli, you’ve got through May 7th to do it with a free UberX. And then once you do that, maybe dinner and a movie at Osteria in the Moorestown Mall?
South Jersey, Your Free UberX Has Arrived [Uber]
Over the weekend, a colleague told me that he had seen an Uber Philadelphia advertisement soliciting drivers for UberX, the low-cost Uber alternative that exists in some 40 U.S. markets, from Boston and New York to Milwaukee and Tulsa.
I thought it a bit odd, since UberX is very similar to SideCar, the car service app that was so memorably booted out of Philadelphia in 2013 by the Philadelphia Parking Authority. While an Uber driver is a licensed limo driver who shows up in a suit and a nice black sedan, your UberX or SideCar driver is basically your Uncle John in his flannel shirt and 2009 Buick. And the PPA, which regulates taxis and limousines in Philadelphia, doesn’t like that very much. Read more »