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Bucks County Services, Inc. v. Philadelphia Parking Authority

Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania

November 14, 2014

Bucks County Services, Inc., Concord Coach Limousine, Inc. t/a Concord Coach Taxi, Concord Coach USA, Inc. t/a Bennett Cab, Dee-Dee Cab, Inc. t/a Penn Del Cab, Germantown Cab Company, MCT Transportation, Inc. t/a Montco Suburban Taxi, and Rosemont Taxicab Co., Inc., Petitioners
v.
Philadelphia Parking Authority and Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Respondents

Argued, October 6, 2014

Page 605

Court of ORIGINAL JURISDICTION.

Michael S. Henry, Philadelphia, for petitioners.

John E. Herzog, Assistant Counsel, Harrisburg, for respondent Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

Dennis G. Weldon, Jr., Philadelphia, for respondent Philadelphia Parking Authority.

BEFORE: HONORABLE BONNIE BRIGANCE LEADBETTER, Judge, HONORABLE P. KEVIN BROBSON, Judge, HONORABLE JAMES GARDNER COLINS, Senior Judge.

OPINION

Page 606

BROBSON, JUDGE

Presently before the Court for disposition are cross-applications for summary relief with respect to Count III of the Amended Petition for Review (Amended Petition) in this Court's original jurisdiction. Petitioners are Bucks County Services, Inc., Concord Coach Limousine, Inc. t/a Concord Coach Taxi, Concord Coach USA, Inc. t/a Bennett Cab, Dee-Dee Cab, Inc. t/a Penn Del Cab, Germantown Cab Company (GCC), MCT Transportation, Inc. t/a Montco Suburban Taxi, and Rosemont Taxicab Co., Inc. (collectively, Companies), all of which are suburban taxicab operators with " partial rights," originally conferred by Respondent the Public Utility Commission (PUC), to provide limited service

Page 607

within specific, defined territories in the City of Philadelphia (City). In Count III, Companies challenge the authority of Respondent the Philadelphia Parking Authority (Authority) to regulate their operations within the City. For the reasons that follow, we grant Respondents' application for summary relief and deny Companies' application.

A detailed account of the parties, their relationships, and the evolving regulation of taxicabs within the City is set forth in our prior decision in this matter, disposing of preliminary objections to the Amended Petition and thus will not be repeated here. See Bucks Cnty. Servs., Inc. v. Phila. Parking Auth., 71 A.3d 379 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2013) ( Bucks Cnty. Servs. I ). At this stage in the proceeding, we address Companies' contention that the Authority lacks the power to regulate their operations within the City under an amendment to the Parking Authorities Law (Law), commonly known as Act 94.[1] We have observed:

Under Act 94, the regulation of taxicabs and limousines in the City changed from the [PUC] to the Philadelphia Parking Authority (Authority), whose power extends to persons or corporations providing these services between points in the City, from any point in the City to any point in the Commonwealth or outside, and from any point in the Commonwealth to any point in the City if the request for service is by call to a centralized dispatch system. The [PUC] retained jurisdiction over service outside the City of Philadelphia.

Germantown Cab Co. v. Pub. Util. Comm'n, 97 A.3d 410, 411-12 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2014) (citation omitted) ( Germantown/PUC ).

In Count III of the Amended Petition, Companies aver factual and legal matters, which we summarize in pertinent part as follows:

(1) Taxi Companies are all suburban common carriers that hold certificates of public convenience issued by the PUC, and, therefore, they are subject ...

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