HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission today granted emergency temporary authority (ETA) for Lyft and Rasier-PA (Uber) to operate in Allegheny County.
“These proposals, although temporary in nature, foster the ability for Allegheny County residents to avail themselves of regulated transportation service that uses modern technology to serve traveling customers in that county,” said PUC Chairman Robert F. Powelson and Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer in a joint statement. “As evidenced by our action today, the Commission strives to ensure that its current regulatory structure is not a barrier to technological advances and desirable changes in the transportation industry.”
The Chairman also issued a video news release to be issued shortly. The PUC’s meeting also will be available on its website.
PUC Vice Chairman John F. Coleman Jr. also issued a statement: “"I agree that there is an immediate transportation need for Applicants’ experimental ride-sharing service. Moreover, the experimental service has the potential to provide substantial benefits to consumers in Allegheny County in the form of another competitive alternative to traditional call and demand service. At the same time, our decision to grant ETA to each Applicant maintains adequate safeguards to protect the safety of the traveling public during the pendency of the ETAs."
PUC Commissioner James H. Cawley issued a statement: “The orders today confirm this Commission’s insistence that the public’s safety be preserved. We have ordered improvements in the required insurance by making Rasier-PA (Uber) and Lyft have the primary, not merely excess, responsibility for insurance coverage. We have also reduced the maximum age of the vehicles that can be used to provide service. These changes will benefit the operators, passengers, and the public.”
PUC Commissioner Gladys M. Brown issued a statement: “Raiser-PA’s Application contains various statements from Pittsburgh area residents regarding the immediate need for an alternative mode of transportation in Allegheny County… I look forward to reviewing a fully developed evidentiary record regarding the Company’s application for permanent authority in the near future.”
The Commission voted 5-0 to grant Uber and Lyft ETA for experimental transportation network service, which permits the companies to operate in Allegheny County. Uber filed for ETA on July 2, 2014. Lyft filed or ETA on July 16, 2014.
Receiving the ETA is contingent upon the companies filing of the proof insurance by the companies' insurance carriers and a rate structure with the Commission. The ETA is valid for 60 days.
In separate action, the Commission voted 5-0 to uphold the cease and desist orders issued against Uber and Lyft by PUC Administrative Law Judges on July 1, 2014. Once the companies meet the contingencies listed above for the ETAs, the cease and desist orders will be lifted.
Vice Chairman Coleman issued a statement.
Commissioner Cawley issues a statement.
The Commission will continue with its consideration of the companies’ applications for experimental authority. Uber filed its petition for experimental authority on April 14, 2014. Lyft filed its petition for experimental authority on April 3, 2014. Those applications are pending before the Commission’s Office of Administrative Law Judge (OALJ).
The formal complaints filed by the Commission’s independent Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement against Uber and Lyft are still pending before the PUC OALJ.
The Commission also has scheduled an en banc hearing on Aug. 28, 2014, to examine issues in the state’s transportation industry including adequacy of driver integrity regulations, vehicle safety regulations and current insurance requirements.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission balances the needs of consumers and utilities; ensures safe and reliable utility service at reasonable rates; protects the public interest; educates consumers to make independent and informed utility choices; furthers economic development; and fosters new technologies and competitive markets in an environmentally sound manner.
For recent news releases and video of select Commission proceedings or more information about the PUC, visit our website at www.puc.pa.gov. Follow the PUC on Twitter – @PA_PUC for all things utility. “Like” PAPowerSwitch on Facebook for easy access to information on electric shopping.
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