Skift Take

Lyft's launch was unsustainable in light of the TLC's vow to start seizing drivers' cars and to levy heavy fines. Now the two sides will have to see if they can work out a compromise that would bring Lyft to the streets of New York.

Lyft’s defiance in the face of the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission’s opposition to its launch this week has been set aside as the ride-sharing service agreed to delay its debut after the TLC went to court to seek a temporary restraining order against the launch.

In a blog post, Lyft stated, “we agreed in New York State Supreme Court to put off the launch of Lyft’s peer-to-peer model in New York City and we will not proceed with this model unless it complies with New York City Taxi and Limousine regulations.”

“We will meet with the TLC beginning Monday to work on a new version of Lyft that is fully licensed by the TLC, and we will launch immediately upon the TLC’s approval. This is a positive step forward and a good demonstration of compromise in balancing innovation with government regulation, and we appreciate the continued efforts of New York City government to find common ground for the betterment of New York.”

Earlier this week, the TLC stated that Lyft’s launch was “unlawful” and it threatened to seize cars, and fine drivers and Lyft if they participated in or operated the service, which was slated to begin in the outer boroughs of the city.

Lyft had earlier vowed to proceed with its launch, saying it would fully cover drivers’ costs.

The TLC issued a statement July 11 indicating that hearings on the city’s request for a temporary restraining order against Lyft’s launch will continue July 14, and Lyft and TLC officials will meet that morning to begin talks on how Lyft can make its service consistent with TLC regulations.

Last June New York launched an e-hail trial system that allows rivals Uber and Hailo to operated. The one-year program was extended a second year. If Lyft meets the requirements, it will operate within this program.

“We are gratified that Lyft will be working with us starting on Monday to structure a service that will be fully compliant with the rules that protect the public’s safety and consumer rights,” said TLC chair Meera Joshi. “As other companies we have worked with have done in the past, they too will benefit tremendously from working within the law, as will their customers.”

Lyft pointed out that no temporary restraining order has been granted yet, and the proceedings and talks will continue Monday.

“The New York Lyft community will stand together and grow stronger as we bring Lyft to the Big Apple,” the company vowed.


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Tags: lyft, ride-sharing, sharing, uber

Photo credit: Lyft co-founder and CEO Logan Green discusses the ride-sharing service at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco in 2013. JD Lasica /

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