Lyft still has some work to do ahead of its efforts to launch in New York, but the ridesharing startup is definitely making progress.
In New York State Supreme Court on Friday, Judge Kathryn E. Freed scheduled yet another hearing for next Friday. That’s because despite Lyft’s announcement to comply with the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the TLC and Lyft still can’t seem to reach a concrete agreement.
“Over the past week, we’ve worked closely with Lyft to assist them in complying with our rules, as they had committed to doing, and at this point we are awaiting their demonstration of compliance,” TLC chair Meera Joshi said in a statement provided to Business Insider. “The judge has ordered that the status quo be maintained for another week for them to do this. It is important to note that this is not a matter for negotiation, but rather, the City of New York has very specific rules that exist to ensure safety and provide for consumer protections. Lyft has committed publicly, and to the court on multiple occasions, that they will comply with those rules if they intend to operate in NYC, and we anticipate their validation of that commitment.”
In an attempt to appease the TLC, Lyft announced earlier this week in court that it has since affiliated itself with eight base stations, and agreed to use only TLC-licensed drivers and cars. Lyft said that it has provided an affidavit detailing its plans to comply with the TLC.
Shortly after Lyft announced its plans to launch in New York last Friday, the ridesharing startup got slapped with a cease-and-desist letter, and requests for a temporary restraining order and injunction. Last week, Lyft agreed to hold off the launch of its ridesharing service in Brooklyn and Queens.
Although TLC spokesperson would not specify just exactly what Lyft needs to do, he told us that they have “some work to do.” But Lyft is still optimistic.
“Over the past week, we’ve had several productive discussions with the TLC, Department of Financial Services, and Attorney General,” Lyft spokesperson Erin Simpson said in an emailed statement. “We will continue to collaborate with all parties on a path forward for Lyft in New York. For our initial launch in New York City, we have agreed to complete the process of getting approval to operate under current TLC rules as soon as possible. We will also begin working with the TLC toward finding a solution that would bring to New York City Lyft’s peer-to-peer model, which is successfully operating in more than 65 cities. This model provides flexibility and economic opportunity to hardworking New Yorkers such as teachers, students, single parents and city workers who cannot afford to undergo the long and expensive process of licensing as a TLC driver.”
The TLC requires that all drivers be licensed by the TLC in order for them to legally operate in New York. It also requires that Lyft, and other similar services, have TLC-approved base stations to dispatch cars.
It’s not quite clear just what the holdup is, but the TLC has a pretty lengthy, strenuous process for attaining a base licence. For one, it requires a $US1,500 application fee. If the City Council does approve the base station, Lyft must also provide a surety bond of $US5,000.
As noted by the original complaint, Lyft does not require drivers to carry commercial insurance. It also doesn’t require them to post a corporate surety bond.
Additional reporting by Rebecca Borison.