December 18, 2014

PUC Approves Conditional License For Lyft To Operate Statewide

The Public Utility Commission Thursday approved with conditions the application by Lyft to offer experimental service for two years throughout the Commonwealth, excluding the City of Philadelphia.
The Commission voted 4-1 to issue the company an experimental license once the company complies with a list of conditions outlined in the Order. The conditions are designed to ensure driver integrity, vehicle safety and insurance protections. The Order containing the conditions will be available on the Commission’s website this afternoon.
“The Commission…has shaped conditions that allow for this exciting new business model to thrive in the Commonwealth, while at the same time ensuring that the necessary public protections are in place,” said Commission Chairman Robert F. Powelson and Commissioner Pamela A. Witmer in a joint statement. “To that end, the authority we move to grant today shall not take effect until Lyft has demonstrated full and complete compliance with the conditions set forth in the Orders.”
“I am concerned that the safety of drivers, passengers and other members of the public will be unnecessarily compromised under the applicant’s current business model,” said Commission Vice Chairman John F. Coleman Jr. in a dissenting statement.
“I believe that this type of service can be beneficial to the public, especially in underserved neighborhoods throughout the Commonwealth,” said Commissioner Gladys M. Brown in a statement. “This Commission is certainly not against new and innovative services, but we have a responsibility to uphold the laws as they are currently written.”
The service will not be licensed in Pennsylvania until the company has demonstrated full compliance with the list of conditions. If the company rejects the conditions, it will be not licensed to operate anywhere in the state, and its current Emergency Temporary Authority in Allegheny County will be immediately revoked.
Even with the conditional approval, which is good for two years, the Commission continues to maintain that a legislative solution for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as Uber is the best answer for Pennsylvania.
The Commission continues to work with the General Assembly to pass legislation that will create a new category of passenger service designed to recognize the TNC business model and refine the regulatory approach in Pennsylvania.
PUC Grants Lyft Experimental License