PUC's ride-share hearings for Lyft postponed

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In order to accommodate witnesses, the hearings scheduled for Thursday and Friday in Pittsburgh for ride-sharing company Lyft have been rescheduled, a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission spokeswoman said today.

The purpose of the hearing before two PUC administrative law judges was to consider Lyft's application to begin permanent experimental transportation service in Allegheny County and statewide.

The new hearing dates are Aug. 27 and Sept. 3.

The San Francisco-based company and its rival Uber moved into the area earlier this year and have tangled with the PUC over regulatory issues since. The companies enlist drivers in their personal vehicles with passengers via smartphone apps. The PUC has maintained the companies do not have proper licenses to operate.

At its July 24 meeting, the PUC commissioners approved Lyft and Uber applications for 60-day emergency temporary status, but with conditions attached. As of today, neither company has notified the PUC that it is in compliance with those conditions, which include proof that insurance policies meet PUC standards and that policies provide primary coverage when drivers are conducting ride-sharing business, among other provisions.

Neither company has been deterred by cease-and-desist orders handed down last month, which also were upheld by the PUC. Despite proposed fines of $1,000 per day and citations and fines against individual drivers, the companies have continued to operate.

The cease-and-desist orders remain in effect until the provisions of the emergency temporary applications are met.

A hearing for Uber’s application to begin permanent experimental service is still scheduled for Aug. 18 and 19, also at the PUC’s Pittsburgh office.

Kim Lyons: klyons@post-gazette.com or 412.263.1241. Twitter: @SocialKimly First Published August 5, 2014 12:00 AM

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