Leaders of Philadelphia’s taxi union said they are planning to withdraw their lawsuit against the city’s parking authority over allegations that it failed to properly regulate rideshare services, like Uber and Lyft.
The plaintiffs in Blount v. Philadelphia Parking Authority on Tuesday filed a praecipe to discontinue the case they filed in July over claims that the PPA was playing favorites.
Both sides pointed out new regulations that Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law in November as the reason for the suit’s withdrawal.
“It didn’t make any sense in light of the legislation,” said attorney Edward W. Millstein, who filed the case for Ronald Blount, president of the Unified Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania. “A lot of the issues were addressed in this legislation.”
Martin O’Rourke, a spokesman for the PPA, agreed.
“The plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction was withdrawn because the parties agreed that with the passage of Act 164, legalizing TNCs [transportation network companies] in Philadelphia, there was no longer any reason to continue pursuing an injunction against those TNC operations,” he said in an emailed statement.
In the lead-up to Wolf signing the legislation into law, the taxi drivers had warned that the PPA’s allegedly unfair regulation practices could lead to bankruptcy.
“Unless immediate relief is provided, it is likely the Philadelphia taxicab industry including plaintiffs will be bankrupted and completely decimated,” Blount said in a filing in September. “The PPA has arbitrarily violated plaintiffs’ constitutional rights by applying burdensome and costly tariffs and regulations to Philadelphia taxicabs, while not equally taxing or regulating the transportation network companies (‘TNCs’) (i.e. Uber and Lyft), which operate in Philadelphia as de facto taxis in direct competition with plaintiffs.”
The following month, a Philadelphia judge determined that the rideshare services violated the civil rights of riders with disabilities, and ordered that the services stop operations in Philadelphia. However, after the PPA lodged an appeal, the Commonwealth Court granted a stay on the cease and desist order in early October.
A few weeks later, the state Senate passed a bill legalizing rideshares throughout the state, which Wolf signed into law the following month.
The legislation included a provision that 1.4 percent of revenue for rides in Philadelphia would be delivered to the state Treasury, with two-thirds of that amount going to the Philadelphia School District and one-third going to the parking authority.
Millstein said Wednesday that the law addressed the concerns that were raised by his clients, including the alleged lack of oversight and the concerns regarding access for people with disabilities.
Millstein said the appeal in the Commonwealth Court will be withdrawn as moot, and the issue will likely be finished.
“If the PPA enforces the regulations as written, there shouldn’t be any issues,” he said.
A spokesman for Uber declined to comment.
Max Mitchell can be contacted at 215-557-2354 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MMitchellTLI.