PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The battle between traditional taxi cabs and new ride-sharing services is heating up.

Mayor Bill Peduto announced Tuesday afternoon that he’s supporting the new services and will work to make it legal for them to operate in Pittsburgh.

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Mayor Peduto said that he will not support the Public Utility Commission’s effort to shut down these services that are already operating in the city.

Instead, he will encourage the PUC to create new rules that make it legal for them to operate. And if they don’t get on board, he’s already working with some state legislators to change the state laws to make them legal.

Here’s how the new service, Lyft, works: you download an app on your phone, and then when you need a ride you get connected with a driver who uses his or her own personal car.

The legal challenges right now are over whether the drivers need a commercial license and insurance.

Right now, the fee is considered a donation.

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Mayor Peduto said he’s tried Lyft recently.

“I have used Lyft twice in the past four days. Used it last night, used it Friday night. I found service to be impeccable,” said Mayor Peduto. “I found that the amount of technology is available to make it easy to use is unsurpassed.”

Lyft is currently operating in Pittsburgh; and another company, Uber, is working to get started here soon.

Mayor Peduto says he will not encourage police to crack down on them now — that they have more important work to do.

He says he hopes these new services will offer more equitable transportation options for residents and visitors when traditional cab companies can often be unreliable.

Ride-Sharing Service Launch Causing Controversy With Local Cab Drivers (2/6/14)
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Kristine Sorensen