Business, Economics and Jobs

Philadelphia shuts down SideCar in sting operation


A commuter gets into the car of a motorist willing to carpool on May 8, 2008, in San Francisco, Calif. SideCar operates using a mobile app, which allows people to call cars and drivers to their current location.


Justin Sullivan

Philadelphia Parking Authority, a Pennsylvania transportation agency, forced SideCar to shut down its local ridesharing operation Saturday night, Philadelphia Magazine reports.

In a sting operation, PPA officials took rides on SideCar and found the drivers were unlicensed.

Philadelphia Magazine's Victor Fiorillo was riding in a SideCar in an effort to review the service, which had recently launched in the city, when his driver got the call from a SideCar employee to pull over and drop off his passengers.

But the defiant startup has resumed operations, it tells Business Insider.

"SideCar is still operating in Philadelphia," spokesperson Margaret Ryan said.

SideCar CEO Sunil Paul just announced that three Philadelphia drivers had been cited and their vehicles impounded on the SideCar blog, but says that the company will attempt to "sort things out" with regulators.

SideCar operates with a mobile app similar to Uber, allowing people to call cars and drivers to their current location. But unlike Uber, which typically uses licensed taxi or limo drivers, SideCar allows ordinary car owners to sign up to drive passengers — whether or not they're licensed.

California's Public Utility Commission fined SideCar, Uber, and ZimRide, the maker of Lyft, another SideCar-like service, in October for operating without required licenses. But in December, the commission announced it would start investigating ride-sharing services, and in January, it entered into agreements with Uber and ZimRide.

It doesn't appear to have reached an agreement with SideCar.

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