Friday was supposed to be the launch of taxi-rivaling, ride-sharing service Lyft in one of the cab's most iconic cities – New York. But with just a few hours to go before kickoff, Lyft's launch in the Big Apple was put off after due to legal battles with the state and city.

According to The New York Times, the government(s) argued that Lyft, whose cars are identifiable by their large, pink mustache on the noses, does not comply with safety requirements, has not completed licensing procedures and is not legally allowed to send drivers into the city. There are also concerns over a lack of drug, background and driving checks for the service's drivers, as well as worries that because of the use of personal vehicles, there would be an increased number of cars on the city's exceptionally crowded thoroughfares that hadn't been subject to the maintenance and emissions checks, unlike Gotham's ubiquitous yellow cabs.

Lyft, for its part, seems to be taking the legal high road, announcing via a blog post on its site that "we will not proceed with [Lyft's peer-to-peer] model unless it complies with New York City Taxi and Limousine regulations."

TLC chair Meera Joshi told The Times she was "gratified that Lyft will be working with us."

Joshi's statement, though, followed an earlier threat towards potential drivers for the ride-sharing service, with the TLC issuing a statement saying, "drivers who sign up with Lyft are at risk of losing their vehicles to TLC enforcement action, as well as being subject to fines of up to $2,000 upon conviction for unlicensed activity." It's worth noting that Lyft rival Uber has been operating in NYC for the past few years.

Both sides were back in court yesterday.


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  • 28 Comments
      Levine Levine
      • 5 Months Ago
      Corrupt politicians have been operating a racket that grants regional monopoly to certain taxi companies. Greasing the wheels of taxi means going down to City Hall for service. Nowhere is the racket more evident than in NYC where the taxi industry buys regulations from corrupt government officials. The regulations serve one purpose: discourage, prevent and force out independent taxi operators. Lyft and Uber are disruptive technology that exposes the incestuous relationship between the corrupt politicians and certain taxi companies. The victims have been the millions of powerless taxi consumers who have been bent over a barrel paying unfair prices.
      deus ex wagon
      • 5 Months Ago
      I do feel for cab drivers on this, since most of it is not their fault. Overregulation and the outrageous cost of getting a medallion made this industry only feasible for larger companies, and gave them no incentive or ability to excel. When your rate is locked in, why replace your car with a newer model or do any more than the minimum maintenance? Why go out of your way to pick up a customer in a less densely populated area? It's nonsense. Up the tax on the service until your city makes whatever it needs to, take a nominal license fee for enforcing basic safety and maintenance, and then let the market decide.
      FuelToTheFire
      • 5 Months Ago
      Lyft and Uber are the same crap. If one of them doesn't meet regulations, then by transitive property the other doesn't. I'd like to see the NYPD plant cops as Uber drivers and have them arrest customers. You mahy think I'm trolling, but I'm being serious. Those ignorant peasant commoners need to realize that there is NO EASY WAY OUT. Monopolies form naturally in a free market, and when they form, it is only natural that they are kept that way. They provide the market with a certain caliber of stability. It's Econ 101, and it's obvious that you ignorant peasant commoners failed it.
      Willie
      • 5 Months Ago
      I'm a Lyft driver in my city (Detroit) and I must clear some things up because judging by all of your comments many of you don't quite understand what Lyft and Uber is. First, we are NOT a taxi. Lyft does not provide us with vehicles to drive and we are independent contractors. We are not employees of these companies. Lyft is a Peer to Peer ridesharing service. You simply download the Lyft app and the job of Lyft is to match people who have cars with people who don't but need a ride. Users input their credit/debit card information into the app and they are charge accordingly for distance and time. Then Lyft pays us weekly after deducting their 20%. Lyft is cheaper than taxi cabs and its direct competitor Uber. All drivers must pass a background check for any felonies or driving incidents, their car must be inspected, drivers must have a valid license, up to date registration, and full coverage insurance. Lyft also provide an additional blanket protection insurance ($1,000,000) that covers both the driver and passenger during an active Lyft that becomes the Primary insurance. Basically, if you are involved in an accident during an active Lyft, you do not even have to contact you own insurance provider. Instead of riding in a busted up Crown Victoria or other old beater vehicle, you are riding in someone personal car which they have stressed to ensure is clean and well maintained. In my case you would be riding in a beautiful black 2009 Mazda6. It is a two way rating system as well. Passengers rate every driver they ride with and can leave feedback (which we do see the very next day). 5 stars is awesome, 4 is good but could have been better, 3 star or below - you will never be match with that driver again. But the same applies for us drivers for passengers. We can rate you as well. So it encourages both sides to "behave" and do a good job. If a driver falls below a 4.6, they are deactivated (aka fired). I lovvvvvvve doing Lyft and it is great supplemental income. The reason Taxis want to fight this because it is a disruption to their monopoly and it is another prime example of how technology is making certain industries and products obsolete. Rather than change with the times to stay relative and competitive, they are stuck in their old ways Any major city I visit, if Lyft is available I will only use Lyft. The Lyft app is available for both android or iOS. Use my code "willie163" for a free ride up to $25 (if your ride exceeds $25 you will only be on the hook for the remainder after the $25). *drops the mic*
        Willie
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Willie
        *picks the mic back up* And Lyft's tag line is "Your friend with a car." It is no different than asking a buddy to take you somewhere and you give them gas money for their time and effort. Same concept, except somebody had the great idea to make an app for it and ensure safety is involved for both parties.
        reattadudes
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Willie
        you DON"T carry commercial insurance like livery drivers do, and that alleged $1,000,000 policy won't cover diddly squat in a serious accident. our livery vehicles were insured for $5 million each with real commercial insurance, with an additional $10 million umbrella. this type of coverage is common in the livery business, and is the sign of a professional who wants to be adequately covered in any situation. and as far as your alleged "full coverage" insurance goes, ask your agent or a representative of the insurance company about your insurance coverage when you have paying passengers in the car. you will be dropped like a hot potato if they remotely sniff livery use of your car. READ YOUR POLICY! how do you think your insurance company will respond when they are asked to pay a claim when you have an accident on the way to pick someone up? you have violated the terms of your agreement, and they will not pay the claim. you will also be blacklisted by all insurance companies. don't believe me: ASK THEM YOURSELF. you don't have airport permits, commercial, or livery plates. you are NOT on a level playing field. its like saying, "I don't want to pay the price of a certified surgeon for my heart operation, so I'll choose some guy working out of his garage for cheap". in both cases, you are not getting exactly what you think you're paying for; one is a professional following strict rules and regulations, and one does not follow any safety rules or regulations at all. if you want to play with the PROFESSIONALS, then follow the requirements that other professionals have to follow.
          Levine Levine
          • 5 Months Ago
          @reattadudes
          "if you want to play with the PROFESSIONALS, then follow the requirements that other professionals have to follow." Sleazy used car salesmen call themselves professionals. Slimy real estate agents call themselves professionals. Garbage collectors called themselves sanitary engineer professionals. And taxi drivers call themselves what? PROFESSIONALS. Play by the rules, said the PROFESSIONAL. What the PROFESSIONAL is concealing: the rules are concocted by the incumbent taxi companies and passed by the corrupt politicians for the sole purpose of discouraging, preventing, and forcing out independent taxi operators.
      raughle1
      • 5 Months Ago
      Special Interests:1 Consumers:0
        FuelToTheFire
        • 5 Months Ago
        @raughle1
        Hey, MORON, "special interests" create JOBS,. Consumers don't. End of story. Whine about "special interests" all you want, but they will create more jobs in a day than ignorant peasant commoners like you will create in your entire lives.
          Jarda
          • 5 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          "Special interests create JOBS,. Consumers don't." This must be the most idiotic thing I read today. Sounds like something Will Ferell would say in one of his Bush sketches.
          RGT881
          • 5 Months Ago
          @FuelToTheFire
          No, see you're mistaken, special interests don't create jobs they merely create a misallocation of economic capital whether its labor, materials, services or financial capital. Consumers vote with their wallets and it's their every single right to do so. You may believe in creating artificial barriers to entry and high exit costs but ultimately it's the symbiotic relationship between producer and consumer which prevails. Special interests are dinosaurs who have gotten fat and outdated and no matter what they do, they will always lose, it's always just a matter of time. History is against you bud.
      Car Guy
      • 5 Months Ago
      The country has never prospered when excessive rules are forced upon new industries.
        Robdaemon
        • 5 Months Ago
        @Car Guy
        New industries? Lyft is a taxi service. It is not a new industry.
          Levine Levine
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Robdaemon
          It doesn't matter what you call Lyft or Uber. America is about freedom, the freedom to make a living without government regulations that serve the incumbent industry. Freedom to buy a product or service from whomever you choose, not only from a government approved provider. Freedom is also about engaging new opportunity, the opportunity to adopt new technology and methods that competes against incumbent competitors. Once upon a time, America gave people freedom. Today, America shackles people with excessive regulations that serves the special interest groups.
          Willie
          • 5 Months Ago
          @Robdaemon
          Lyft is not a Taxi service. It is a peer to peer ride sharing service. An app matches people with vehicles with people who don't have vehicles. You can not wave a Lyft car down and just hop in the backseat.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 5 Months Ago
      NYC wants to continue their little medallion cartel where they charge hundreds of thousands of dollars per taxi..
        hp
        • 5 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        $1 million +
        2 wheeled menace
        • 5 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        1 million per car? Is that basically like the entire profit that the taxi company/driver will get over the vehicle's lifetime?
      Avinash Machado
      • 5 Months Ago
      Sad.
      foxtrot685
      • 5 Months Ago
      I love Lyft service and will support it for as long as I can. "as well as worries that because of the use of personal vehicles, there would be an increased number of cars on the city's exceptionally crowded thoroughfares that hadn't been subject to the maintenance and emissions checks, unlike Gotham's ubiquitous yellow cabs." OH GIVE ME A BREAK! How many yellow taxis around the country do you see missing body panels, spewing blue/white/black smoke all over the place, muffler hanging on with a wire hanger, and the list goes on and on and on and on. These taxi commissions are really reaching for excuses on why Lyft and Uber are "unsafe." I got a Lyft in a beautiful grey Evo IX MR recently... and that just about sold me on the service aside from it being super convenient.
      Sergey R
      • 5 Months Ago
      F monopolies. They are using all their power to create laws that make them even stronger. And those laws prevent others from entering the market. I like Tesla, I like modern companies like Uber. Such companies change our life. Personally I'd like to sit in a nice car with a nice driver, but not in a dirty old yellow Ford with a person that I don't like. Let's evolve, let's decide what is better for us. I don't want anyone to decide what is better for me - a yellow cab or an Uber/Lyft/etc service.
      reattadudes
      • 5 Months Ago
      its about time someone stood up to these companies. many posters talk about "freedom to choose", and other BS; I have NO problem with that, as long as the playing field is LEVEL. it isn't. I owned a livery business for ten years here in Arizona. we have to follow strict rules issued by the state; companies like Lyft and Uber feel they do not. we carried five million dollars' worth of liability insurance on EVERY car, with a ten million dollar umbrella policy. we had to have commercial or livery plates at higher costs. we had to have airport vehicle inspections, and airport stickers on the windshield, renewed every quarter. we had a fleet of less than two year old Cadillacs. between the payments on the vehicles, PLUS the commercial insurance, we were sitting at $2,000 per month in expenses, NOT including airport fees, fuel, and maintenance, per vehicle. companies like Uber and Lyft? nothing. as I mentioned, a LEVEL playing field. Lyft? your driver may only have state liability insurance minimums, and even that will be void when they find out passengers are being transported for hire. read even YOUR policy; its clearly spelled out, no passengers for hire. Uber allegedly offers a piddly one million dollar policy, IF and ONLY if a paying passenger is in the vehicle. you're SOL if the driver hits a pedestrian while they're on the way to pick someone up, or have an accident. now let's talk about those "wonderful' smartphone apps. when you sign up with Uber, Lyft, or any of their ilk, be prepared to sign a three plus page hold harmless agreement, 'cuz don't forget, none of them are really "transportation companies". its just a bunch of legal tap dancing, letting you know if your driver rapes you, stalks you, or is involved in a horrific accident, Lyft, et al, are NOT in any way responsible. the apps also just let you sign when your ride is done. you have no idea how much the ride was, until your credit card statement arrives. if you mistakenly get in the car during "prime time" that $60 airport ride instantly becomes a $900 airport ride. so you're PO'd, and want to give Uber or Lyft a call? don't even bother to try; they have NO phone numbers to call. just shoot them an email; expect a response in three to four days. now take an "old fashioned", antiquated company like I owned. we had five operators (that's the old fashioned method of moving your vocal cords) you could call, 24/7. a car would be dispatched, without the need for a three page legal waiver being signed. being governed by state regulations, your ride cost was known up front, and you signed a totaled receipt when you left the car. just wait until a few horrific crashes happen, riders are killed or seriously injured, and the vehicles had no applicable liability insurance. think back to that limousine fire going over the Oakland Bay Bridge a few years back, where seven people burned to death. how far do you think that $15,000 liability policy from The General will go?
      A_Concerned_Citizen
      • 5 Months Ago
      Politics aside, this is poor writing. You're not supposed to use an acronym without prefacing it with its full name. For all people know, Meera Joshi is the chair of The Learning Channel or the 1990s R&B group. In this case, it is the Taxi & Limousine Commission. What are these "journalists" learning with their liberal arts degrees these days?
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