Cab drivers in Philadelphia are feeling blindsided and robbed by UberX and Lyft drivers, who they claim are illegal at their core. The problem has become so widespread in the city, hundreds of taxi, limousine, and UberBlack drivers decided to unite and protest around City Hall on December 16th, 2015 for over an hour. They are not only concerned with their own salaries, however, as they express that the safety of the general public could be put at risk by unlicensed UberX drivers.
UberX sprung up in Philadelphia more than a year ago, and cabbies say they have waited patiently ever since for lawmakers to handle the situation. But, so far, nothing has happened, spurring the recent protest and the promise of many more to come. A spokesperson from Uber could be seen as fanning the flames of controversy by releasing a statement that more or less put the blame for the situation on the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) – the company that controls regulations for taxis and limos in the city; the spokesperson claimed the PPA was operating under “outdated rules” that did not provide an affordable option to the public. The comment did not have anything specific to say about the fact that UberBlack drivers, employees under the same parent company, were also part of the protesters standing against the influx of UberX drivers.
What is the Difference Between a Taxi and a Shared Ride?
At Sacks Weston LLC in Philadelphia, our attorneys have always taken up the fight for clients in complex litigation centered on the potential misdoings of a large corporation. We have even extended a helping hand to the Unified Taxi Workers Alliance of Pennsylvania in the past, as discussed here.
Our own attorneys Jeremy Abay and John Weston are currently representing UberBlack and some of the protesting taxi drivers as this story develops. Speaking with the news, Abay argues that UberX and Lyft are illegally sidestepping the law by calling themselves “ride-sharing services” and “transportation network companies” instead of what they actually are: taxi cab companies. By reclassifying their organization, they are therefore able to avoid government fees, routine inspections, and basic certifications, and can undercut prices set by the PPA without any legal oversight. A class action may be necessary against the corporation to set things right.
Attorney Abay has been cited by Phillymag.com in a full article here, and Phillyvoice.com in their coverage of this pressing news story, as seen here. If you would like to know more about this story as it progresses, be sure to check in on our legal blog regularly.