Charlie Deitch reports that state Senator Wayne Fontana (and we’ve heard Erin Molchany in the House, though not sure if that’s been reported yet) is introducing a bill to create a new “transportation network” category in the PA code that would legalize e-hailing apps Uber X and Lyft in Pennsylvania. Since Tom Corbett’s PUC appointees think their job is to protect monopoly rents for incumbent taxi fleet owners, rather than provide safe and convenient taxi markets for PA’s cities – it’s become important to override them by creating this new category, similar to regulations in Colorado and California that regulate safety while encouraging more competition and choice:
After saying on Wednesday that he would fight for innovation, Mayor Bil Peduto announced this morning that state Sen. Wayne Fontana is preparing legislation int he state senate to permit the operation of rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber.
“State Sen. Wayne Fontana is set to introduce legislation to allow for operation of these innovative transportation systems and I support similar bipartisan efforts being introduced in the House,” Peduto said in a statement. “In the interim I fully support a resolution being introduced by State Rep. Erin Molchany calling on the Public Utility Commission to issue provisional approvals for the companies Lyft and Uber to operate this weekend to alleviate pressing public safety concerns about drunk driving this holiday weekend.”
This is an important cross-over issue for progressive Democrats and market-friendly Republicans because it creates a deep market of rides-for-hire that makes it convenient for people to give up their cars and reduce their carbon output, and it provides a transit-like service in areas poorly served by public transit. Peduto has been pushing for PUC to legalize jitneys (dollar vans) too, which heretofore have primarily served poor neighborhoods. And it also soaks wealthy medallion owners (progressive!) by way of lower barriers to competition for new businesses (free market!) so there’s plenty for both sides to like here.