HARRISBURG — State legislators are preparing bills to allow ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft to operate in Pennsylvania, as Mayor Bill Peduto requested after two judges Tuesday ordered a halt to operations.
With the General Assembly preparing to leave town after it resolves final details related to the annual state budget, those bills are highly unlikely to see action before the next scheduled session days in mid-September.
The House and the Senate have an Allegheny County member preparing legislation to allow and regulate ride-sharing services.
“It’s the future; there’s no doubt,” said Rep. John Maher, R-Upper St. Clair, who is seeking co-sponsors for his bill.
“When we have a worldwide tech capital like Pittsburgh, with all of the digital and computer innovations, we ought to be at the cutting edge.”
Sen. Wayne Fontana, D-Brookline, said constituents have said they want to use the ride-sharing services, which allow drivers and passenger to connect through their smartphones.
“We want to keep them going, and the only thing that’s going to do that, apparently, is legislation from the state level,” Mr. Fontana said.
State law requires parties offering transportation for pay to hold a license. Public Utility Commission Chairman Robert Powelson has met with legislators to seek legislation to provide for the ride-sharing services, said Jennifer Kocher, spokeswoman for the PUC.
Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Forest Hill, said there are legitimate public-safety concerns with the ride-sharing services: issues of insurance and liability
“I think the PUC is doing a thorough review of this,” Mr. Costa said.
“We think Uber and Lyft are important to our city, but at the end of the day, the level of review I think is appropriate, and I believe will come to an appropriate resolution very soon.”
As for changing the law, spokesmen for the Republican leaders who control the schedules in the House and Senate said legislation could not be considered before members return to regularly scheduled session days Sept. 15.
Karen Langley: firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-787-2141 or on Twitter @karen_langley.