It's no secret that some places, whether it be in the US or other parts of the world, are not in approval of the way ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft operate. And, starting today, we can add Pittsburgh to the list of cities where these app-based car services can't do business legally, at least not for the time being. The news comes after two local judges have granted the Pennsylvania Public Utility's petition to issue cease-and-desist orders to them. As the Pittsburgh Business Times notes, Uber and Lyft won't be free to continue offering their service "until they secure the appropriate authority" from the PUC.
According to the commission, there are three main concerns at stake here: that drivers have the appropriate background checks, insurance and inspection. Furthermore, the PUC also states that Uber and Lyft don't have the Certificates of Public Convenience, something required for all auto ride companies to have in order to provide service -- they have both already filed applications and are awaiting an answer. For its part, Lyft says it remains "committed to finding a path forward for ridesharing in Pennsylvania," adding that it is already "working with elected officials to ensure that consumers continue to have access to peer-to-peer transportation." Uber and Lyft have a week to respond to Pennsylvania's PUC, after which a final decision is expected to be made within 30 days.
Update: We've clarified that it is the state of Pennsylvania going after these services, not the city of Pittsburgh. Mayor William Peduto had this to say about the situation:
[Image credit: Associated Press]
I will not let the Governor and the Public Utility Commission shut down innovation without a fight. I am confident it is one that I and other supporters of new business models will ultimately win.
Technologies like ride-sharing evolve with the times and state regulators must too. While the commission may wish for Pennsylvania to cling to a Jurassic Age of transportation options, people in Pittsburgh and other communities know our state must adapt or die in the global marketplace.