PPA Picks Cartels over Consumers

Jon Brennan’s Audi S4 was impounded by Philadelphia police because he’s an UberX driver.

Emails uncovered by the Philadelphia Inquirer reveal that the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) has thrown significant funds and manpower behind efforts to prevent companies like Lyft and Uber from operating in the city. Officials have actively conducted “sting” operations to discourage ridesharing, and sent out messages to approved Uber Black drivers asking them to report UberX drivers.

Moreover, the emails show that the PPA has been conspiring with the taxi industry to protect them from competition—at the expense of consumers.

While PPA officials claim their concerns revolve around safety, one can’t ignore the enormous financial stake the authority has in the traditional taxicab industry. Taxi cabs pay a slew of fees and tariffs along with a yearly $1,000-plus assessment per cab. In contrast, most ride sharing drivers pay nothing.

The emails between PPA and taxi medallion owners reveal a lobbying campaign costing at least $565,000 to protect the lucrative traditional taxi cab business.

In other words, Philadelphians' tax dollars are being spent to stall legislation that the majority of Philadelphians support!

Talk about a conflict of interest. Government authorities that are captured by the industries they are supposed to regulate are robbing the public of better service, and present ethical questions.

The PPA's arbitrary rule over ridesharing companies needs to come to an end. As James previously noted, ridesharing services provide greater convenience, more service, and more safety for riders.

Beyond allowing ridesharing companies the freedom to service consumers in Pennsylvania and statewide, lawmakers should look at dismantling the Philadelphia Parking Authority itself—long a haven for corruption and patronage—and turning parking facilities over to private operators