During Transit Mess, Uber to Operate Legally in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS) -

Cracks found in new rail cars owned by the Philadelphia region’s transit authority have led Uber and city regulators to heal their own breach.

The Philadelphia Parking Authority and the ridesharing-app giant have reached a temporary agreement to allow Uber to operate legally in Philadelphia. This comes just a week after state legislators said a bill that would have regulated the hail-by-app industry was too unwieldy to vote on before the summer recess.

“It’s taking away the stigma. We will make it legal here pending the legislation,” said Vince Fenerty, the PPA’s executive director.

That is good news for Philadelphia commuters, who need all the help they can get. A third of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s regional rail fleet is out of commission after inspectors found cracks in a key load-bearing component on 115 of its newest cars. Taking those cars out of service has meant delayed and jam-packed trains and has left rail riders scrambling for another way to travel. Uber says its carpooling service, UberPool, will be a major draw while rail is hobbled. Use of the service increased 26 percent this week over last week. When the PPA offered a detente Tuesday, the company took it, the two parties said.

Uber is already offering a 40 percent discount to suburban riders who use its service to travel to and from certain SEPTA stops.