Uber, Lyft & ride sharing in Pittsburgh | Post-Gazette



Editor’s note: When ride-share companies moved in to Pittsburgh, taxi companies protested and the PUC cracked down. The story is evolving, and we’ll update this page with news. You can explore the story here, beginning with the newest developments first.

Nov. 19: Pittsburgh customers weigh in on latest Uber controversy

As first reported by BuzzFeed, Uber’s senior vice president of business suggested the company hire opposition researchers to conduct what amounted to smear campaigns against its critics in the media. Pittsburgh users of the ride sharing service weighed in.

Pittsburgh's mayor gets a Lyft

Mayor Bill Peduto took a spin in Brad Hoffman's Lyft car to share what he thinks of new innovation in Pittsburgh. (Video by Madasyn Czebiniak; 8/1/2014)

Nov. 13 PUC grants Uber license to operate experimental service in Pennsylvania

The approval came with conditions that the commissioners warned had to be met within 30 days, including background checks for drivers and requirements for insurance coverage.

 

Nov. 7: Uber suspends pick-ups at Pittsburgh airport

"While we have been working with the airport authorities to reach a solution, we recommend partners do not pick up riders at the airport until further notice," the company wrote in an email to Pittsburgh-area Uber drivers. "Also, you will notice that you will no longer be able to receive requests ​while at the airport. Partners should still be able to drop off riders at the airport​ ​without a problem."

 Oct. 28: Uber battle heats up in Philadelphia

While Lyft and Uber remain in neutral in Pittsburgh, the ride-sharing drama at the other end of the state has kicked into high gear.

 Oct. 25: UberX launches in Philadelphia amid uncertainty over taxis

Ride sharing company Uber launched its uberX service in Philadelphia on Friday, amid uncertainty over the main insurer of taxis in the City of Brotherly Love.

Oct. 23: Pennsylvania PUC board votes to unseal Lyft trip data

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette had filed an emergency petition seeking to unseal the information, which was provided to two administrative law judges during hearings in Pittsburgh in August and September. Lyft sought to protect information about the number of trips it provided customers while under the cease-and-desist order as proprietary.

 

Oct. 9: PUC seeks $6.9 million in fines against Lyft

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s enforcement arm on Thursday proposed a $6.9 million fine against Lyft on the same day that two PUC judges recommended the company not receive a permanent license to operate in the state.

And a state representative who proposed legislation that would have created a new category for ride-share companies in Pennsylvania said late Thursday it seemed “unlikely” the Legislature would act on the bill during the current session.

 Oct. 6: Early Returns: Mr. Peduto goes to Harrisburg

Mr. Peduto's spokesman, Tim McNulty, said the trip is "mostly about maintaining and building relationships with state leaders." However, he acknowledged that "some city-related issues" could come up as part of the visit.

Those include the Act 47 state oversight program for distressed municipalities that the mayor lobbied earlier this year to keep the city under and ride-sharing legislation that would provide a long-term framework for companies like Uber and Lyft, which the mayor has said fills a crucial transportation need in Pittsburgh.

Oct. 4: Letter to the Editor: The PUC wants Uber to meet standards

Jonathan Greer of the Pennsylvania Insurance Federation says making sure Uber has proper insurance and properly educated and trained drivers is a fair and logical standard.

 

Sept. 25: PUC judges recommend Uber application be denied 

Two judges ruled Thursday that ride-sharing company Uber should not be given a permanent license to operate in parts of Pennsylvania because it hasn’t proved that it cares about protecting either its drivers or its passengers, and it has been unwilling to comply with PUC orders and unwilling to disclose its operations while it was ignoring a cease-and-desist order from the commission.

Sept. 25: OPINION: Ride herd on ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft

Governments should require ride-sharing operators to be transparent

 

Sept. 14: Ride-share companies Lyft and Uber may get boost in Harrisburg

As Pennsylvania lawmakers return to Harrisburg this week, a total of six proposals dealing with ride-sharing await their consideration. None seek to apply the brakes to the popular companies.

Sept. 14: On board: The PUC backs ride-share legislation

The public has spoken both by using ride shares and by advocating for the services. The PUC has endorsed the effort. Now it’s time for the Legislature to bring Pennsylvania’s transportation regulations into the 21st century by legalizing ride share.

Sept. 11: Lyft hearing examines insurance

A witness for the Pennsylvania Insurance Federation, a Pennsylvania trade group, tried to explain Wednesday why the insurance coverage that San Francisco ride-sharing company Lyft is proposing is problematic.

Sept. 10: Uber details insurance policy at hearing

An Uber spokesman testified at length Tuesday about the San Francisco company’s insurance policies at a hearing before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, detailing when drivers for the ride-sharing platform are covered.

Sept. 9: PUC chairman, commissioners support Fontana legislation for Lyft, Uber

After months of battling ride share companies Lyft and Uber, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s board has sent a letter to state Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi, urging action on legislation that would create a new category for the companies in the Keystone State.

Sept. 6: Gov. Corbett expresses his support for Lyft, Uber in Pennsylvania

Any new legislation governing ride-sharing companies in Pennsylvania would come before Gov. Tom Corbett, and on Friday he made it clear where he stands on the issue

Aug. 24: In clash of cultures, PUC grapples with brave new ride share world

A full panel meeting by the PUC’s five-member board this week will look further down the road, trying to figure out how to maneuver through the woefully outdated rules the state utility body is sworn to enforce.

Aug. 21: Uber becomes second ride-sharing company approved in Allegheny County

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission gave San Francisco ride-sharing company Uber the green light in Allegheny County, granting it a temporary license to operate.

Aug. 20: Uber CEO forecasts “win” in Pittsburgh; company hires political strategist Plouffe

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in a conference call Tuesday that he expects a “win” in Pittsburgh, even as his company’s local attorney was arguing the company should not have to disclose the number of local trips it provided in Pittsburgh over the past few months to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Aug. 19: Uber refuses to disclose figures in hearing before PUC judges

During a hearing in Pittsburgh on Monday, the local attorney for Uber instructed a witness not to answer questions about the number of rides the company has provided while under a cease-and-desist order, despite a court order compelling the company to reveal the information.

Aug. 15: Lyft legal in Allegheny County, for now

Lyft has beaten Uber to the finish line in at least one race: It’s now the only ride share company with legal authority to operate in Allegheny County.

Aug. 15: Uber seeking drivers in State College, Reading, Erie

Uber has begun seeking drivers in State College, Reading and Erie for its UberX ride sharing service, which also operates in Pittsburgh.

Aug. 13: LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The PUC needs evidence to act on cab complaints

PUC Chairman Robert Powelson: “...the long-held lore of unreliable Pittsburgh taxi service unfortunately is not supported by the evidence at my disposal.”

Aug. 13: Lyft, Uber still face pick-up restrictions at Pittsburgh airport

Confusion over where ride-share companies such as Lyft and Uber can pick up passengers at Pittsburgh International Airport prompted the Allegheny County Airport Authority to update its regulations July 1.

 

Aug. 8: Yellow Cab plans to seek rate increase from state PUC

Yellow Cab is preparing to ask the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for a rate increase, its first since 2006, even as it continues to try to fend off competition from ride- share companies Lyft and Uber.

 Aug. 7: Protests against Lyft are adding up

A hearing on whether to grant ride-sharing company Lyft a permanent license to begin experimental service in Allegheny County and statewide is on hold, but the list of protests filed against the application has grown to include the Philadelphia Parking Authority and nearly five dozen taxi companies.

Aug. 5: PUC's postpones hearing for Lyft permanent license application

In order to accommodate witnesses, the hearings scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Pittsburgh for ride-sharing company Lyft have been rescheduled. The new hearing dates are Aug. 27 and Sept. 3

Aug. 1: Peduto presses ahead with ride share support

While on an errand Friday morning to pick up toothpaste and shampoo, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said he will continue to press the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission and legislators for a resolution to the ride-sharing debate in Pittsburgh.

 WATCH: Pittsburgh’s mayor gets a Lyft

July 30: Uber hiring drivers in Harrisburg

Ride-sharing company Uber has begun hiring drivers in the Harrisburg area, putting the San Francisco-based company on the home turf of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, which has battled Uber and its rival Lyft since the companies moved into Pennsylvania earlier this year.

July 28: PUC sets hearing dates for Lyft, Uber permanent licenses

Two Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission administrative law judges will hold separate hearings for Lyft and Uber in Pittsburgh next month to hear testimony on why the companies should be granted permanent licenses to operate in Allegheny County and statewide.

 July 24: PUC approves emergency applications for Lyft, Uber to operate in Allegheny County

The vote by the five commissioners was unanimous. The agency's Bureau of Technical Utility Services recommended approving the applications, even though the PUC's Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement had previously recommended denial.

July 24: PUC bureau advises temporary approval for Lyft, Uber

After months of battling ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber, at its meeting today the state Public Utility Commission’‍s Bureau of Technical Utility Services will recommend the board grant the ride-sharing companies emergency licenses to operate in Allegheny County.

July 24 OPINION: Yellow Cab should stop crying to the public about ride sharing 

July 22: Yellow Cab readies its own app for Pittsburgh ride shares

Rather than continuing to try to fight the well-funded San Francisco-based ride-share companies, James Campolongo, president of Yellow Cab, said his company is putting the final touches on a ride-sharing app of its own, in the time-tested strategy of “if you can’‍t beat ’‍em, join ’em.”

July 19: Lyft applies for emergency order allowing it to operate in Allegheny County

The petition is the second filed by ride-sharing services seeking emergency authority to operate. Uber has its own petition pending before the PUC, which may consider the matter at a meeting next Thursday.

July 16:  New citations issued to Lyft, Uber ride-share drivers 

The same enforcement officer who cited nearly two dozen ride-sharing drivers earlier this year issued 10 new citations to different drivers, in a sign that the state Public Utility Commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement continues to crack down on Lyft and Uber in Pittsburgh.

 July 14: PUC enforcers oppose ride-share company's emergency application

The enforcement arm of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission is opposing an emergency application from ride-sharing company Uber to begin service in Allegheny County.

July 13Road testing Yellow Cab, Lyft and Uber in Pittsburgh

The traditional Pittsburgh driver knows the route to travel to avoid crossing the same river twice in one trip. But the new reality of Pittsburgh's roads has cars with pink mustaches and drivers with GPS systems beckoned by riders with smartphones who don't much care which way they go, as long as they show up on time.

July 13OPINION/Republicans should love Uber and the sharing economy

Shared services might help the GOP win more often in cities, explain conservative activists Grover G. Norquist and Patrick Gleason.

July 12: Saturday Diary/My first ride-share on Uber. Why not?

For a weekend visitor to Washington the issue begs a simple question: In a country that celebrates choice and competition, why can’t Pennsylvanians have the same transportation options as their friends in D.C.?

July 11: Peduto, Fitzgerald and Fontana urge the PUC to reverse course on ride sharing

As Uber awaits the outcome of its emergency application before the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, state and local politicians gathered in Pittsburgh on Thursday to urge action that would make the ride share company and its rival Lyft legal in Pennsylvania.

July 9: Fontana files ride-share legislation in state Senate

Pennsylvania continued on the long and winding ride-sharing road Tuesday, with legislators trying to steer the Public Utility Commission toward a final destination.

July 8: Uber seeks emergency status permit to keep ride-sharing services in drive

Ride-sharing company Uber on Monday updated its emergency application to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for permission to operate experimental service in Pennsylvania, adding signed supporting statements from Pittsburgh residents who say they need the service.

July 4: Lyft, Uber remain in limbo over holiday weekend

The Pennsylvania cease-and-desist orders issued this week will remain in effect on ride-share companies Lyft and Uber through the Independence Day weekend, despite a last-minute effort by officials to intervene.

 

 

 

July 3: EDITORIAL: Lyft and Uber: State officials must make ride-sharing a reality

Pennsylvania stands at a juncture: Do we live in a state that welcomes innovation, or are we wedded to the tired ways of the past?

July 2: Lyft, Uber determined to continue in high gear

Both companies strongly condemned the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’‍s action and said they would not comply. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto expressed his support for “new business models.”

July 1: Citing public safety, judges grant PUC’‍s request for ride-share cease-and-desist order

In their decision, the judges wrote, “... The Commission is charged with a higher duty than just the public convenience.” The orders required both Lyft and Uber to stop operating immediately in Pennsylvania.

June 26: PUC pursues cease-desist orders on ride-share companies

Ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber should be ordered to shut down operations in the area immediately “because something disastrous could happen,” a prosecutor for the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement argued before a two-judge panel in Pittsburgh

On Twitter: Follow PG reporter Kim Lyons for the latest ride share news.

June 23: Ride-share reps spell out insurance policies to state House panel

Representatives from ride-share companies Lyft and Uber explained to a House committee in Harrisburg on Monday how and when their insurance policies cover drivers and passengers. But the head of the Insurance Federation of Pennsylvania said a much more coordinated effort is needed among insurance companies, ride-share companies and regulators to ensure consumers aren’t left by the side of the road

June 17: Lyft, Uber have no plans to leave state despite enforcement

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto reiterated his support for Lyft and Uber, even as the state scheduled hearings to decide whether to issue cease-and-desist orders against the ride-sharing companies.

June 16: PUC seeks cease-and-desist orders against ride-share companies Lyft and Uber

 The Public Utility Commission's Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement petitioned for cease-and-desist orders against Lyft and Uber to force them to stop operating in Pennsylvania.

June 12: Growing opposition to ride sharing companies goes global

When American ride sharing company Uber tried to move into the U.K., taxi drivers and train workers across Europe united in protest

June 11: Chat transcript: Latest on Lyft and Uber in Pittsburgh

Reporter Kim Lyons hosted a chat about the current situation and future of ride-sharing service after Yellow X and PUC’s fines.

June 10PUC comes down hard on ride-share drivers and companies

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission slapped tens of thousands of dollars in fines on ride-share companies Lyft and Uber, and filed new civil complaints against two dozen ride-share drivers for violating state law.


Yellow Cabs along Market Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. (Ethan Magoc/Post-Gazette)

May 22: PUC approves Yellow Cab's Yellow X ride-share service

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved Yellow Cab Co.'s application to establish an experimental service modeled after peer-to-peer ride-sharing companies, called Yellow X.

April 25: Pennsylvania PUC cracks down on Lyft, Uber drivers

Court records show PUC enforcement officer Charles Bowser cited 23 drivers of ride-share companies Lyft and Uber between March 31 and April 21.

April 22: Peduto, Yellow Cab approach merge point on ride sharing

Both Mr. Peduto and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman Robert Powelson have expressed support for the ride-share companies, which they say offer much-needed transportation choices for consumers. But the taxi companies have raised concerns about what they view as a lack of regulatory oversight for such entities.

April 11: Yellow Cab applies for license for ride share service

 Yellow Cab Co. of Pittsburgh has filed an application with the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for an alternative “call and demand” taxi service that would operate under the name “Yellow X.”

April 2: Lyft expands coverage to airport, Pittsburgh western suburbs

The new coverage area will include McKees Rocks and Robinson, the airport and "everything in between," the company said in a statement.


PartyParty-goers enter Olive or Twist during the launch party for Uber. (Michael Henninger/Post-Gazette)

March 15: Results vary in Pittsburgh when comparing taxis to ride sharing

It turns out you can get there from here. But how much you'll pay and how smoothly it will go may vary widely.

Feb. 24: Ride-share firms gain more traction with support from PUC

Following a meeting with Mayor Bill Peduto, the chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission said Monday that the agency has to change how it handles regulation for ride-share companies that have recently moved into Pittsburgh.

Feb. 20: Munch goes to The Pub Chip Shop 

All this talk about Lyft and Uber casts Munch's memory back to a misty, long-ago era when the nights often ended with a trip to Piper's Pub, whose inscrutable bartenders locked the doors at unpredictable hours. To them, the standard South Side 2 a.m. closing time was but a suggestion, and getting tossed out of the bar at half-past midnight was not an unusual occurrence. Being jettisoned onto East Carson Street without a lift home meant calling a taxi -- and waiting, and waiting, and then waiting some more.

Feb. 19: CHAT: Ride sharing companies in Pittsburgh

Feb. 19: Peduto asks for rule change on ride-sharing operations

"As mayor, I support the expansion of transportation options in our city and recognize the need for a broader and more diverse suite of options to get people around town quickly, safely, and reliably," Mr. Peduto wrote in a letter to PUC executive director Jan Freeman on Tuesday.

Feb. 16: EDITORIAL: Taxi stand: Pittsburgh deserves better cab service

The only thing reliable about taxis here is their unreliability. Waiting for hours or waiting in vain is the most predictable service offered by local cab companies. That’s why it’s good news that Lyft and Uber, car services in use in other cities, have arrived.

Feb. 16: Ruth Ann Dailey: Taxi! Let the market move us

Lyft and Uber are freelance services that match up would-be taxi-takers with drivers who use their own cars to fill the large, frequent gaps in Pittsburgh's traditional taxi service. They're basically a smartphone jitney. And they wouldn't exist if we didn't need them.


Rob Rogers’ March 19 cartoon.

Feb. 14: Pittsburgh-area cab companies make case against ride-sharing trend

Pittsburgh-area taxi companies met Thursday with representatives of the state Public Utility Commission to discuss what could or should be done about two ride-sharing companies that have moved into the city.

Feb. 11: Pittsburgh cab firms try to cut off newcomers

As the region's two largest taxi companies prepare to fight to keep two ride-sharing companies from doing business in Pittsburgh, they also are battling their own image problems.

Feb. 10: Taxi services urge Peduto to crack down on ride-sharing service Lyft

Days after the launch of the ride-sharing service Lyft in Pittsburgh, the heads of Pittsburgh's two largest taxi operators wrote a letter to Mayor Bill Peduto urging him to to pass an ordinance cracking down on what they believe is an illegal taxi operation.

Feb. 5: Lyft set to go in Pittsburgh

Lyft is one of a new generation of ride-sharing companies, including SideCar and Uber, that operate with drivers who use their own vehicles.


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