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.