Uber and Lyft aren’t banned from picking up passengers in Philadelphia — not that it stopped them anyway.
A state court late Friday issued an injunction against a previous ruling that had ordered them to halt operations on Thursday.
Judge Robert Simpson’s preliminary injunction to Uber stayed an order by Judge Linda Carpenter that required ride hailing services such as Lyft and Uber to cease and desist operating in Philadelphia.
Both Uber and Lyft had continued to offer rides in the city Friday despite Thursday’s ruling, extending a legal limbo that’s become typical for sharing-economy start-ups as they push a business model that’s met resistance from legacy business models, such as taxis and in Airbnb’s case, hotels.
Judge Carpenter’s injunction on Thursday was in response to a suit filed in July by local taxi drivers. It alleged the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) regulated cab companies more heavily than ride-hailing services and was therefore unfair.
Drivers for Lyft and Uber could potentially have been liable for fines as high as $1,000 and had their vehicles impounded under the cease-and-desist order.
In a statement Friday, Uber said it celebrated riders and drivers staying on the road in Philadelphia, but that the state still needed permanent ride-sharing legislation.
Lyft said it remained “committed to finding a statewide solution that keeps this modern option available across the state.”
Ride-hailing companies have long been under fire in Philadelphia , where they are effectively unregulated because current laws do not cover them.
In the rest of the state Uber has operated as an experimental service under a two-year license from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission but the license excludes the city of Philadelphia.
If the state does not act, hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians could again lose access to affordable transportation and meaningful income opportunities, Uber’s statement said.
To get around the issues during the Democratic National Convention, a temporary authorization bill legalizing ride-sharing services was passed, but it lapsed September 30.
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