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October 19, 2016

Pennsylvania House passes bill to legalize Uber, Lyft in Philly

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelming approved a bill that would provide permanent authorization to rideshare services Uber and Lyft and legalize their operation in Philadelphia.

Originally written in the Pennsylvania Senate, SB 984 passed the House by a vote of 188-15, setting the stage to replace the two-year experimental licenses the two transportation network companies have been using to operate statewide. The experimental licenses are set to expire in January and February of next year for both Uber and Lyft, respectively. 

In Philadelphia, where rideshare companies have had a contentious relationship with the Philadelphia Parking Authority, a state appeals court recently lifted an injunction that was imposed through a lawsuit filed against the PPA by the Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania. 

Governor Wolf had previously enacted a grace period for Uber and Lyft in Philadelphia during the Democratic National Convention and SEPTA's Regional Rail crisis.

In the face of the PPA's regulatory threats, Uber and Lyft both signaled their intent to operate as usual. 

Under the terms of the bill, a 1.4 percent tax on all Uber and Lyft rides would be divvied up between the School District of Philadelphia and the PPA.

“This is an important step toward securing a permanent future for Lyft in Pennsylvania and we want to thank the Assembly for their leadership on this issue," Lyft spokesperson Chelsea Harrison said. "We urge the Senate to act quickly and move forward on this commonsense framework for ridesharing.”

The Senate could vote on the bill as soon as next week.