PUC shifts gears on Tuktuk sightseeing vehicle

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday reversed its earlier denial of a license to a Lancaster company offering tours in a three-wheeled electric rickshaw, saying the agency did not have jurisdiction over a sightseeing business whose transportation services were its secondary mission.

The PUC’s initial vote in July to deny a license to Tuktuk Lancaster inspired a fund-raising campaign, the hiring of a lawyer, and letters of support from Lancaster city officials, who told the commission they had no safety concerns about the open six-person vehicle.

The company, in asking the PUC to reconsider its decision, compared its business to horse-drawn carriages and other sightseeing vehicles that the PUC no longer regulates because their transportation service is ancillary to the tourism.

Tuktuk, which had offered tours in exchange for charitable contributions, wasted no time Thursday getting its new business model into full speed, posting an assortment of tours starting at $19 on its website, tuktuklancaster.com.