Lyft was set to launch in Brooklyn and Queens tonight at 7 PM, but the riding-sharing service just delayed its plans after two restraining orders from the New York Attorney General and the city's Taxi and Limousine Commission told the start-up to keep its mustaches at home.
Like Uber, Sidecar, and other ridesharing services, Lyft lets users summon a ride (in a pink-mustachioed car) through a smartphone app. And like Uber, Sidecar, and other ridesharing services, local taxi and livery companies aren't pleased.
But what's different about Lyft is that it's more ride-sharing than taxi-replacing. Drivers use their own cars, similar to Uber, but it's more of a pay-to-hitchhike scheme than calling a Town Car.
Lyft announced plans to launch in New York with two weeks worth of free rides in Brooklyn and Queens, two historically underserved boroughs for both taxis and public transit (and also a good place to start PR-wise). But that plan may be dashed with the legal actions taken by the city attorney and the TLC which claims the service is illegal. And Lyft had to see it coming.
Lyft met with the TLC earlier this week to discuss the roll-out, with the TLC offering to work with the company to comply with the law, but Lyft had no intentions of waiting while the bureaucratic machine crawled into action.
The TLC responded by sending out a warning to Lyft drivers that it planned to enforce local taxi laws by fining drivers up to $2,000 if they were caught picking up riders and confiscating cars of TLC-certified drivers using the app to find fares.
Lyft is running in over 60 cities in the U.S., and NYC is just the latest in a string of legal problems that Lyft and other ride-sharing companies have faced.