PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With plenty of riders, drivers and elected officials present, and even a baby sporting that pink moustache, local officials asked the Public Utility Commission to grant an emergency temporary license to allow Uber and Lyft to operate pending final approval of their permanent license.
“We’re looking for a solution now — a short-term solution to it,” said Pa. Sen. Wayne Fontana.
Sen. Fontana, who has introduced legislation to regulate ride-sharing in Pennsylvania, is calling on the PUC to act at their next meeting on July 24.
In the meantime, despite a PUC administrative judge’s ruling, Sen. Fontana says, “operations will continue until then. That’s why we’re asking for it to be expedited and get it done.”
Both Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto said technology is ahead of the law.
“Laws are created, but technology always keeps moving forward,” said Mayor Peduto. “And it’s important that the law stays with technology so places like Pittsburgh and all of Pennsylvania can continue to compete globally.”
“I’m urging the legislature, I’m urging the PUC, let’s move forward and make this happen,” added Fitzgerald.
The move for a temporary license has bi-partisan Republican support.
“It seems the PUC has been more interested in hitting the delete key than in enabling folks to arrange rides,” said Pa. Rep. John Maher.
The need for Uber and Lyft was stressed by many.
“Somebody from out of state, Seattle, who was over on the South Side, and could not get a cab back to their hotel in Pittsburgh,” said Pa. Rep. Mark Mustio.
Max Flavin drives for Lyft and says he’s a passenger, too.
“The first several weeks I started driving, everyone who got in my car, the introductions went something like, ‘Oh my God, you showed up,’” he said.