As I pointed out yesterday, the dispute over ride-sharing rules between Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission isn’t really a city issue.
It’s a state issue because the Governor appoints members to the PUC. So since we’re coming up on a Governor election, I asked the major candidates for Governor – Katie McGinty, Rob McCord, Tom Wolf, and Allyson Schwartz – whether they agreed with Peduto’s position that ride-sharing services, and not just these smartphone app companies but also traditional jitney and dollar van services, should be encouraged.
And it turned out that everyone supports Peduto’s position.
Katie McGinty even put out a full press release on the issue:
Katie McGinty, Democratic candidate for governor, today said that she supports Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto’s call for the Public Utility Commission to make changes to its regulations to allow alternative transportation such as ride-sharing and the licensing of currently un-licensed providers such as jitneys in Pittsburgh.
“We need to be giving people more options when it comes to transportation, especially in cities,” McGinty said. “By changing the current regulations and allowing more competition in the market, we can give residents and visitors more reliable options to move around cities and towns safely.”
McGinty said that cities and towns across Pennsylvania will benefit economically and could even see a reduction in alcohol related offenses such as driving under the influence.
“Expanding options in local transportation is a win-win for everyone. It makes it easier for people to get around town and patronize establishments while also making it more likely that people will receive a safe ride home after an evening out with friends,” McGinty said.
Rob McCord also sent us an approving statement:
“I applaud Mayor Peduto and I agree with his innovative approach on this issue. It is typical of the kind of leadership he’s shown in Pittsburgh. I believe that regulators must acknowledge that mobile technologies and consumer demands are forcing a change in this market. We’re seeing evidence of that across the country and it’s time Pennsylvania brings its approach up to speed. It goes beyond matters of convenience and service quality, it also provides an alternative means of transportation that helps to reduce travel costs for citizens and offers environmental benefits. I look forward to working with Mayor Peduto on this as governor.”
As did Tom Wolf:
“We need to increase transportation choices for consumers, while ensuring safety and compliance. Mayor Peduto’s efforts will give the people of Pittsburgh more options, which is a goal I support.”
The Schwartz campaign did not issue a statement from the candidate, but they confirmed that Congresswoman Schwartz supports Mayor Peduto’s position on this issue.
This is a very encouraging development, and bodes well for Pennsylvania as a place where innovations in alternative transportation can flourish. If Peduto succeeds in legalizing jitney services at PUC, cities and boroughs and first ring suburbs all over the state whose bus systems are underdeveloped could end up with some high quality paratransit options, midway between a bus and a taxi.
If this debate extends into January 2015, the proof will be in the pudding when it comes time for the new Governor to replace PUC members, and naturally we’ll be right there with friendly reminders for the new Democratic Governor about this campaign promise.