Right now the car services Uber and Lyft, which operate entirely on smartphones, want to do business throughout Pennsylvania, but technically that’s against the law. “Under the law in Pennsylvania anyone who is providing transportation for compensation must have a license from the Public Utilities Commission” said Public Utility Commission Press Secretary Jennifer Kocher.
That’s where State Senator Wayne Fontana comes into play. Uber and Lyft are already operating in his district, which includes pittsburgh, on temporary licenses. Fontana has legislation that would create a new category for these types of companies to legally operate in plcaes like Harrisburg. “If they come to other cities and other counties within Pennsylvania, they want to make sure that the legislation will be in place so that they can just fit in, so we’re sort of the trailblazer here” said Fontana.
Fontana hopes to get the legislation passed and signed into law in October. In the meantime the car companies are vowing to maintain the same kind of rules for potential drivers that have allowed them to be welcomed in other major cities throughout the country. “Nothing involving drugs or alcohol. You can’t have a DUI, you can’t have three or more moving violations in the past three years. So these are all measures that we take” said Lyft Government Relations Manager Katie Kincaid. Both Uber and Lyft have already applied for statewide licenses just in case the legislation doesn’t pass.