Uber Puerto Rico triumphs over Public Services Commission
SAN JUAN — The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Uber Puerto Rico and against the Public Service Commission (PSC) on Friday as it established that the Transportation & Public Works Department (DTOP by its Spanish acronym) is the entity in charge of regulating Uber services on the island.
According to the 28-page sentence from the appeals court, the Superior Court made the appropriate decision by ruling that the DTOP is the agency with “exclusive jurisdiction” over transportation net services (ERTs by its Spanish acronym), such as Uber.
“After examining allegations from the parties involved, the documents that comprise the appendices and documental evidence considered by the attending court, as well as original cars in digital format, we confirm the appealed sentence,” reads the sentence.
The Court’s decision determines that Uber’s services aren’t the same offered by taxis, tourism taxis, limousines, or touristic vehicles, which is why they aren’t subject to Act 109 of June 28, 1962, known as the Public Service Act.
“Those private vehicles dedicated to passenger transportation via payment, categorized under public porters excluded from PSC jurisdiction, are specifically regulated by Ruling No. 7789. It is a vehicle category that groups personal vehicles when these are offering public service through ERTs. These can’t be included under the taxi category because they don’t register route distances and costs of passage with a taximeter,” adds the sentence.
Likewise, it was established that Uber offers personalized services based on clients’ needs, and always through a digital platform.
“The court didn’t err in dictating a declaratory sentence and enunciating that the DTOP is the government agency with exclusive jurisdiction to rule ERT services offered by Uber. The judicial decision is supported by the very laws we have referenced, and it is very important in view of DTOP’s role reigning public policy regarding government transportation programs,” reads the document.