Mayor, Yellow Cab approach merge point on ride-sharing
April 23, 2014 2:41 PM
Lyft's entrance into the Pittsburgh area, along with Uber, has shaken up the taxi scene in Pittsburgh. Here, a Lyft driver navigates Oakland in February. "The reality is [ride sharing] is here to say," Mayor Bill Peduto said Wednesday.
By Kim Lyons / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Mayor Bill Peduto and Yellow Cab CEO Jamie Campolongo are moving forward together on ride-sharing legislation.
"The reality is it is here to stay, and we should welcome ride-sharing as long as there are common-sense safety rules," Mr. Peduto said after the two men met this morning. "This is not meant to be unfair to any provider. Government has a public safety role to require people are adequately protected -- through inspections, insurance and background checks. This is the same kind of way all businesses are licensed and regulated."
Taxi companies in Pittsburgh have protested the arrival of San Francisco-based ride-share companies Lyft and Uber, which enlist drivers to use their own vehicles and connect with passengers via smartphone apps.
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.
"We're not saying 'hey it should just be us, and leave them out,'" Mr. Campolongo said of the ride-share companies. "We just want everyone to follow the same rules, whatever they are."
He said he had requested the meeting with Mr. Peduto.
"We would normally ask for a meeting with a new administration, but we had some specific things to talk about," he said.
Yellow Cab recently filed an application with the PUC for an alternative “call and demand” taxi service that would operate under the name “Yellow X" to compete with the ride-share companies.
The earliest the PUC would consider the proposal would be its May 23 meeting, Mr. Campolongo said.
For now, he said he was was satisfied that the mayor had heard the taxi companies' concerns. "I think he has a better understanding of our position," Mr. Campolongo said.
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