PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – The state Public Utility Commission has approved emergency permits for two ride-sharing companies that have been operating in the Pittsburgh area.
The San Francisco-based firms Lyft and Uber use smartphone apps to dispatch drivers who use their own personal vehicles to give people rides. The drivers then share the fares they collect with the companies.
The companies have come under fire over concerns that drivers, their vehicles, and – especially – their insurance don’t meet regulations for taxi cabs and other similar services. The companies have argued their services are just as safe, but have been targeted because they don’t fit neatly into current public transportation regulations.
The PUC’s five commissioners voted to approve the permits citing the “immediate and substantial” benefit they’d provide to residents who want an alternative to traditional taxicab services.
Mayor Bill Peduto issued the following statement regarding the ruling, “I want to thank the Public Utility Commission for clearing the way for ride-sharing services to operate in Allegheny County. This unanimous vote underscores Pittsburgh’s leadership in supporting 21st Century transportation options, and I will keep working with the PUC and others in Harrisburg to allow for them permanently.”
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