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PUC Requests Comments on Taxi Regulations

On August 11, 2016, The PUC acting pursuant to Act 85 of 2016, which requires the PUC to promulgate new regulations in response to changes in the industry, requested public comment on ride sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft.  Uber and Lyft have spurred and created controversy  in both the Public Utility Commission (PUC)  and Commonwealth Courts.  The PUC requested comments include “specific suggestions for any proposal, including suggested regulatory language, with appropriate citations to current regulations that address the particular comment.  Additionally, comments must provide the underlying rationale to support any suggested temporary regulations.”  Comments are due 30 days from publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, which is published each Saturday.  The rulemaking is docketed at L-2016-2556432.

The Act also exempts the PUC from certain procedural regulatory review standards under the Commonwealth Attorneys Act and Regulatory Review Act.

The Commission’s temporary regulations will address the following topics:

(I)  the use of log sheets and manifests, including the storage of information on digital or other electronic devices.
(II)  metering addressing the use of a variety of technologies.
(III)  vehicles’ age and mileage, including procedures to petition for exceptions to age and mileage standards.
(IV)  marking of taxis, including advertising.
(V)  the operation of lease-to-own taxi and limousine equipment subject to the following conditions:
(a)  providing required levels of insurance on the vehicle.
(b) ensuring that the vehicle is subject to and complies with all vehicle inspection requirements.
(c) ensuring that the driver complies with all the requirements of 52 Pa. Code Ch. 29 subch. F (relating to driver regulations).
(d)  terminating insurance provided to a driver who completes the purchase of the vehicle or who no longer provides driver services to the taxi or limousine company.
(VI)  taxi tariffs, including rate and tariff change procedures for both meters and digital platforms. Regulations shall reflect reduced or flexible rates and tariffs as appropriate.
(VII)   procedures for cancellations, no-shows and cleaning fees.
(VIII) limousine tariffs, including rate and tariff change procedures. Regulations shall reflect reduced or flexible rates and tariffs as appropriate.
(IX)  driver requirements, including criminal history background check requirements and driving record requirements.
(X)  vehicle requirements, including compliance with environmental, cleanliness, safety and customer service standards, including special safety requirements for children.
(XI)  requirements for continuous service and exceptions for unexpected demand and personal health and safety.

The Act requires the PUC to promulgate temporary regulations by December 2016 (150 days from the effective date of the Act).  The temporary regulations will expire at the earlier of the PUC’s promulgation of final-form regulations or two years from the effective date of the Act.

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