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Pennsylvania judge orders further hearing on Uber services during DNC

Judge says UberX remains illegal in Philly despite the company's agreement with a city body.

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Taxi and Uber Black drivers fight in a legal battle against Uber for the right to operate during the DNC in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia can't decide what to do with Uber.

On Tuesday, a state judge reiterated that UberX remained illegal in the city despite a Philadelphia Parking Authority decision to allow the service during the Democratic National Convention later this month. UberX, one of ride-hailing company Uber's second-lowest tier of service, lets car owners use their personal cars as de facto taxis.

The decision followed a request for an injunction filed Monday by Fair Ride Philly -- a coalition of cabbies, advocates for the disabled and, amusingly, Uber drivers of a higher tier. The injunction sought to halt the agreement.

In an order, Judge Linda Carpenter said the agreement doesn't supercede her previous decision that Uber services except Uber Black, a town car and limousine service, are illegal in Philadelphia County. A further hearing on whether to invalidate the agreement will be held on July 22.

"It is hereby ordered that this court will not stay any of its orders, which have determined that UberX operates as a 'hack' taxi within the city of Philadelphia," Carpenter wrote.

The PPA, which oversees the Philly's taxis and limousines as well as parking, struck the agreement in anticipation of a flood of visitors to the DNC, where Hillary Clinton is expected to be named the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. The city is expecting 50,000 people to attend the four-day event.

The PPA didn't respond to a request for comment.

Fair Ride Philly, the coalition, is seeking to prevent the agreement from going to effect. The agreement would allow UberX and UberPOOL, the two lowest tiers of Uber's service, to operate through September 30 to accommodate the influx of visitors the city expects for the convention.

The coalition argued the PPA couldn't approve Uber's lower-end services, which allow drivers to operate their personal cars without paying pay taxes or fees. By contrast, taxi and Uber Black drivers must buy medallions and permits.

Angela Vogel, a Fair Ride Philly organizer, praised the judge's decision, saying the PPA's agreement would have been a de facto legalization of Uber's services.

An Uber spokesman said in a statement the order didn't invalidate the agreement and that Uber looked forward to serving the city "during the DNC and throughout the summer."

The DNC starts on July 25 and runs through July 28.