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Lyft to Launch in New York With Hurdles for Would-Be Drivers

@SamShankman

Jul 25, 2014 3:00 pm

Skift Take

Lyft is hungry to get into New York City and it’s wisely playing by the city’s rules, but we’re interested to see how this newly adjusted business model will pan out in a city where private and public transportation are readily available.

— Samantha Shankman

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TechCrunch  / Flickr

Lyft co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2013. TechCrunch / Flickr


Lyft, the ride-sharing startup best identified by a big pink mustache, is set to launch tonight in the five boroughs of New York City following an agreement with the Taxi and Limousine Commission.

Lyft previously stood up to TLC opposition stating it’d have drivers’ backs in the case of a crackdown, but quickly afterwards decided to delay the debut all together. New York City has an e-hail program that Uber and Hailo participate in but Lyft had neglected to.

The peer-to-peer service will now launch in New York City with regulations that could discourage some would-be users from signing up. Unlike other markets where a car and a fuzzy pink mustache were all that separated driver from fare, in New York both the driver and their vehicle will need to be licensed by the TLC. This requires filling out an online application, paying an application fee of up to $243, and visiting the TLC licensing facility for fingerprinting.

An application, of course, does not guarantee approval.

The other option is for would-be Lyft drivers to buy an already-established black car base, one which negates the original benefits of signing up for Lyft in the first place.

Lyft is hungry to get into New York City and it’s wisely playing by the city’s rules, which were created with Uber and Hailo’s input in Spring 2013.

Below is the list of guidelines Lyft drivers must follows, as outlined by the TLC:

  • Be licensed to provide for-hire service by the NYC TLC
  • Be drug-tested annually and for cause
  • Take State-Certified Defensive Driving Course, must be updated every three years
  • Be fingerprinted for a governmental criminal background check, with ongoing monitoring for criminal and traffic infractions;
  • Subject to strict point-related code of standards to assure responsible operation
  • Be driving vehicles that are inspected six times over a two-year period, with one inspection conducted at the TLC’s own state-of-the-art facility
  • Protect their passengers with for-hire insurance at a minimum level of $300,000 in liability and $200,000 in Personal Injury Protection
  • Be affiliated with a licensed base station that will be fully accountable for the vehicles and drivers they dispatch
  • Must provide equivalent service to passengers who use wheelchairs, as well as passengers who are not wheelchair users

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