Just hours before it was scheduled to start offering business in Brooklyn and Queens, the widely popular car-hailing company “Lyft” was deemed illegal by regulators at the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.
The excuse given by New York City and state officials said Lyft must meet certain safety requirements and hasn’t completed licensing procedures.
A Lyft spokesperson said the company would postpone further business in New York in order to fully comply with the regulations, according to the New York Times. Lyft executives met with New York City official Monday “to work on a new version of Lyft that is fully licensed by the T.L.C.”
Responding to Lyft’s postponement, Meera Joshi, the chairwoman of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, said she was “gratified that Lyft will be working with us.”
A hearing was held Friday before State Supreme Court Justice Kathryn E. Freed, who was considering separate requests from the city and the state for a temporary restraining order that would prevent Lyft from servicing New York areas.
In one filing, according to the Times, the office of the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, argued that while Lyft “portrays itself as an innovative 21st-century technology business,” it is using “a smartphone app to run a traditional 20th-century for-hire livery service, arranging rides for passengers on non-fixed routes in exchange for compensation.”
Oh, the humanity. Where do these Lyft people think they are, America?
How dare those savage innovators take it upon themselves to come up with a way to create a product that people are willing to pay their hard-earned money for?
Using heavy-handed force to threaten free marketeers and to get Lyft to comply, the Taxi and Limousine Commission declared Lyft an “unauthorized service,” warning that “drivers who sign up with Lyft are at risk of losing their vehicles to T.L.C. enforcement action, as well as being subject to fines of up to $2,000 upon conviction for unlicensed activity.”
The commission claimed Lyft drivers had not “completed the background checks for drug use, criminal behavior and traffic-related incidents that are required of licensed city taxi drivers,” according to the New York Times. And, of course, because Lyft drivers use their own vehicles, the commission also said that’s another set of issues because those cars haven’t undergone the same safety and emissions inspections that other state approved passenger service vehicles receive.
Lyft founder John Zimmer rebutted the commission’s safety claim and said the company’s safety standards “are more strict” than New York City’s.
This is a clear case of New York taxi drivers colluding with government in order to crush competition and protect their monopoly.
You don’t believe me? Atlanta’s taxi industry has already declared war on Lyft.
Innovative risk takers, utilizing technology, are creating products and services that people want. And as a result, they are threatening the existence of old, government-connected businesses.
Realizing that their futures are uncertain, those old guard business owners are ready to do whatever it takes to protect their ever-shrinking influence.
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