Uber’s Exclusive, Air-Conditioned DNC Pickup Lounge Is Riling Rivals

Lyft and cab drivers have also accused Uber workers of blocking access points at the Wells Fargo Center.

Uber Lounge

Photo | Dan McQuade

Frustrated Lyft and cab drivers are claiming that Uber workers attempted to thwart other vehicles from crossing Wells Fargo Center perimeters Monday to drop off passengers for the Democratic National Convention.

Uber has responded to the allegations by insisting that its workers only prevented Lyft and cab drivers from entering an Uber-exclusive pickup lounge outside the Citizens Bank Park, located in Lot T.

Uber Lounge

Photo | Dan McQuade

The lounge is part of a deal struck between the hail-to-ride company and the Democratic National Convention Committee. The air-conditioned tent where Uber passengers can await their rides is about a ten-minute walk from the Wells Fargo Center. Snacks, water and charging stations are provided. According to Fortune, Uber tried to strike a similar deal at the Republican National Convention, but the company was turned down.

Other car services have access to Lot V, which Lyft spokesman Adrian Durbin said Lyft drivers are currently using. Uber, Lyft, and cab drivers are all permitted to drop credentialed passengers off at the Wells Fargo Center regardless.

The head of the cabdrivers’ union, Ron Blount, told the Inquirer that Uber workers specifically attempted to block an entrance near 10th Street and Packer Avenue.

In a comment, Uber said it expects the DNC pickup and dropoff process to “run smoothly going forward” as appropriate arrival lots are clarified.

Uber’s partnership with the Democratic National Convention Committee and the Democratic Convention Host Committee also includes the “Stars and Stripes” program, through which the company offers free-of-charge rides to specially appointed VIPs.

On Monday, taxi, limousine and even some of Uber’s own drivers protested outside the company’s private event, which it hosted for delegates and other convention attendees at the DoubleTree hotel in Center City.

Earlier this month, the PPA and Uber reached a deal that allows Uber and Lyft to operate legally in the city through Sept. 30th. Both Uber and Lyft are reporting record-breaking demand during the DNC traffic so far this week.

Follow @ClaireSasko on Twitter.