Transport Cars

New York City Authorities Tell Lyft Its Launch Is Not Legal

Jul 10, 2014 2:34 pm

Skift Take

If Lyft’s brief history is a guide, the mobile-oriented car service will be operating in New York City sooner rather than later despite the Taxi & Limousine Commission’s warning. But this does explain why Lyft is foregoing the pink mustaches in NYC.

— Dennis Schaal

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Lucy Nicholson  / Reuters

Lyft's plan to launch service in New York City's outer boroughs has run into a roadblock with authorities saying the car service is not authorized. Pictured, a driver with the ride-sharing service Lyft waits for a customer on a street in Santa Monica, California in this file photo taken October 17, 2013. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

Lyft Inc. isn’t authorized to offer ride sharing in New York, according to the city’s taxi regulator, just days before it was due to start service.

The service hasn’t complied with safety requirements and licensing criteria and the city’s rules and laws will be enforced, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Lyft had said it would start operations in the city July 11.

[The TLC’s statement on Lyft is embedded below.]

Lyft’s debut was to offer more competition to Uber Technologies Inc. in the booming market for new ways to move people and cars more efficiently through cities. By disrupting local taxi industries services, car-booking and ride-sharing apps have faced lawsuits in the U.S. and demonstrations in cities from London and Madrid to Berlin and Paris.

“Every rider deserves the safety and consumer protections our rules provide,” Meera Joshi, chair of the Commission said in the e-mailed statement. “We’re still hopeful that Lyft will accept our offer to help them do the right thing for New York City passengers.”

Uber has been operating in New York since 2011 and this week reached an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to limit its peak-pricing tactics and cap fees during emergencies.

San Francisco-based Lyft planned to begin New York operations with 500 drivers from July 11. In April, Lyft received $250 million from investors including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and has been rolling out its service in new cities.

Uber was valued at $17 billion last month in a new financing round, making it worth more than public companies such as Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and retailer Best Buy Co.

–With assistance from Serena Saitto in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Clark in Tokyo at aclark27@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net.

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