PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Cameras were not allowed in, but an administrative hearing was held in Pittsburgh on Thursday that could shut down the operations of two popular rideshare companies — Uber and Lyft.
“The PUC’s independent Bureau of Investigation & Enforcement filed an emergency petition asking for an order to direct the companies to stop providing service at this time,” PUC spokesperson Jennifer Kocher told KDKA money editor Jon Delano.
Delano: “What’s the emergency?”
Kocher: “The filings maintain that there’s a safety issue; the concern is over the safety of the public.”
The enforcement arm of the PUC is not happy that Uber and Lyft are operating even though their request for PUC approval has not yet been approved.
Kocher says there are too many unanswered questions.
“We don’t know what kind of insurance they carry. We don’t have proof of their drivers’ safety or the vehicle safety,” she said.
So why haven’t Uber and Lyft been approved yet?
Because others have objected, says Kocher.
“You have the trial lawyers and the Pennsylvania Insurance Federation and then other companies have all filed objections to these applications, and because that has happened, it now has to go to hearings before administrative law judges,” Kocher said.
That has delayed the approval process for Uber and Lyft.
In the meantime, they continue to operate, illegally, says the PUC.
Earlier drivers were cited under a summary offense criminal code and now this action to halt the companies from operating.
As for riders, says Kocher, “We can’t do anything about the riders and the choices that people make. It’s just something where there are concerns. We don’t have anything on record.”
The administrative judges should rule on the cease and desist order by July 1.