PUC enforcers oppose Uber's emergency application



As far as the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission’‍s Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement is concerned, a lack of ride sharing in Pittsburgh does not constitute an emergency.

Rasier PA, a wholly owned subsidiary of San Francisco ride-sharing company Uber Technologies Inc., filed an emergency application July 2 to the PUC for permission to operate experimental service in Pennsylvania. The company amended the application July 7, adding signed supporting statements from Pittsburgh residents who say they need the service.

In a July 9 letter to PUC secretary Rosemary Chiavetta, which was posted to the PUC website Tuesday, the regulatory agency’‍s enforcement arm says Uber has not met the burden of proof required.

“Rasier has not, as a matter of law, presented evidence of an immediate need for its service, and has not demonstrated the existence of emergency conditions to warrant the granting of emergency temporary authority,” the letter states. “Moreover, I&E maintains serious doubt regarding Rasier’‍s fitness, and asserts that it is questionable whether Rasier possesses a propensity to lawfully operate.”

Ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft both have applications pending before the PUC to start experimental transportation services in Pennsylvania. Those can’‍t be considered without hearings, since protests were filed against the applications.

But under the PUC code, the commission “may, without hearing, grant temporary certificates of public convenience in emergencies, pending action on permanent certificates.”​

On July 1, an administrative law judge issued cease-and-desist orders against the companies, but both have continued to operate in the Pittsburgh area. The companies also both face proposed fines of $1,000 per day, and the Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement has previously cited 22 drivers from each company for driving without required certification.

There is no timetable for the PUC to making a ruling. The board meets next on July 24.

As of Tuesday, Lyft had not filed an emergency application in Pennsylvania.

Read the Bureau of Enforcement and Investigation’‍s letter below or click here to download it.

 

 

Kim Lyons: klyons@post-gazette.com and 412.263.1241/@SocialKimLy First Published July 15, 2014 12:00 AM

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