December 14, 2015
Philadelphia police on Monday confirmed that its officers will be watching at City Hall on Wednesday when about 500 limousine and taxi drivers are expected to rally from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. to protest ride-sharing services.
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A spokesperson said the department will assign personnel to the rally, which is apparently intended to protest services like Uber and Lyft that are becoming more and more popular with commuters in the city.
A post on Reddit – an Internet message board – notes that drivers will be parking limousines "black, luxury sedans of various makes and models on S. Penn Square in front of the DA’s office as well as other streets surrounding City Hall."
Uber and Lyft are operating in Philadelphia minus permission from the Philadelphia Parking Authority, which has the power to regulate taxis and ride-sharing services. The agency is fining Uber $1,000 a day for operating illegally within city limits.
According to PaIndependent.com, the state senate passed legislation in late November to legalize ride-sharing services in Pennsylvania, but at a cost to those who use Uber and Lyft in Philadelphia.
A 1-percent tax in the bill – to be collected on all rides that start in the city – would raise funds for the School District of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Parking Authority, it reported:
The tax could end up costing riders as much as $50 million over the next decade. To some observers, the new tax is yet more evidence of the sway that special interests hold in Harrisburg, while others see it as the cost of compromise — a necessary detail to ensure bipartisan support of important legislation.
The bill awaits further action in the House Consumer Affairs Committee.