HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the free pass provided by the Public Utility Commission (PUC), lawmakers need to put customer and motorists safety first and enact legislation that would require all ride-sharing services to follow the same laws that govern traditional taxi services, said Alex Friedman, President of the PA Taxi Association.
"The PUC is closing its eyes to these companies. They ignore state and local law. They thumb their nose at lawmakers, the PUC, the Philadelphia Parking Authority. But the PUC allows them to operate. It's outrageous," Friedman said.
Friedman noted that Uber testified before the legislature that they were not operating illegally in Philadelphia.
"We all know that they are operating illegally here," Friedman said. "The Public Utility Commission ignores the fact that they're blatantly ignoring the law in Philadelphia and rewards them."
"When someone robs the bank, you don't turn around and give them the keys to the vault so they can come back and rob you again. But that is essentially what the PUC is doing. It's outrageous."
Uber's conduct has compelled a group of 45 Philadelphia taxi companies to file suit in federal court in Philadelphia which states that Uber meets the definition of a corrupt organization under the RICO statute.
The complaint alleges that Uber has committed wire fraud by filing documents with false and misleading information at the state Public Utility Commission (PUC), "… in order to induce state regulators to grant Defendants authorization to provide on demand taxicab service in Pennsylvania under false pretenses and to circumvent motor carrier statutes and regulations."
Friedman said that his members would continue to work with the PPA and lawmakers to ensure passenger safety in Philadelphia. The Taxi Association supports legislation that would force these companies to:
- Obtain commercial liability insurance as primary coverage, rather than a secondary umbrella policy
- Obtain a Certificate of Public Convenience from the Commission
- Obtain and file criminal background checks on the network drivers with the Commission
- Obtain a special tag from PennDOT to provide easy identification for passengers
- Display markings/identities on their vehicles
"They don't have proper insurance. Their vehicles are not inspected as our taxicabs are. Their drivers do not undergo the appropriate background checks," Friedman said. "Our members welcome competition but it has to be fair competition and we have to put safety first."
SOURCE PA Taxi Association