Looking at the number of times cab aggregators manage to get into trouble with the authorities, you would almost think that they were doing something illegal. Uber and arch-rival Lyft have both been hit with a court injunction in Philadelphia, ordering them to bring their activities to a halt.
The injunction was made following complaints from the local taxi industry. It makes two main allegations against the cab aggregators. The taxi drivers in their lawsuit, complain that the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) does not provide equal protection to all the car service providers in the city. They also say that the city’s disabled population is not receiving its due from either Uber or Lyft, considering that they do not have to comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The act refereed to here is a US labor law that prohibits unjustified discrimination based on physical disability. While most employers in the US need to comply with it, Uber and Lyft don’t.
The decision was made by a Common Pleas Court judge yesterday, and was supposed to go into effect immediately. However, following their usual practice of disregarding court decisions unless forced to follow them, both Uber and Lyft have said that they will continue operating while they re-appeal the decision.
As per Uber,
While our appeal is pending at the Commonwealth Court, Uber will remain available for riders and drivers. This situation makes it clear that Harrisburg needs to act: Pennsylvania must have permanent, statewide ridesharing legislation as soon as possible.
Lyft appeared to echo the sentiments of its competitor for once and said,
Lyft was not given any notice or opportunity to be heard on this issue before yesterday’s ruling. We are appealing the order and will continue operating in Philadelphia as the legal process moves forward. People in Pennsylvania want access to ridesharing, and we remain committed to finding a statewide solution that keeps this modern option available across the state.
Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Pennsylvania’s legislature is also due to vote on statewide legislation to authorize ride sharing later this month, the aggregators have actually been operating on a temporary authorization. This latest lawsuit and the order that followed, may make the road to permanent authorization slightly more difficult for these companies.
However, cab aggregators (and Uber in particular) have probably gotten used to fielding lawsuits from various parties — including rivals! — that are unhappy with one thing or other. That said, this lawsuit isn’t something extraordinary and the companies are probably banking on it to be resolved once the state puts the authorization issue to the vote.