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​NY attorney general sues to bar Lyft from the city (update: launch delayed)


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Lyft's pink mustaches were all set to prowl New York City's outer boroughs this week, but it seems that the city itself is having none of it: New York's attorney general is pursuing a court order that will block the company from providing transportation services in Queens and Brooklyn. The lawsuit's complaint closely echoes the concerns of the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, which labeled Lyft as "unauthorized" earlier this week for failing to comply with its safety and licensing requirements. It seems to be a matter of distinction -- Lyft labels itself as a peer-to-peer transportation network, but the attorney general says its really a traditional taxi service, and as such, it needs to comply with local laws. Specifically, the AG alleges that Lyft "has simply waltzed into New York and set up shop while defying every law passed whose very purpose is to protect the People of the State of New York," stating that the company puts itself "above the law" by calling its fares "donations."

Lyft argued to the Taxi and Limousine Commission that its ride-sharing model exempts it from the standard licensing policies, but seems a little more amiable now that the situation has drifted into the legal arena. "We are int he legal process with local regulators today and will proceed accordingly," Lyft's Erin Simpson told us. "We always seek to work collaboratively with leaders in the interests of public safety and the community, as we've done successfully in cities and states across the country, and hope to find a path forward for ridesharing in New York." For now, Lyft faces an unfortunate roadblock, but not an impassable one: after all, Uber sorted things out with the city, didn't it?

Update: Lyft's scheduled launch has been delayed. According to Bloomberg the service plans to try again next week, on July 14th -- assuming it has all its legal wrinkles ironed out by then. Lyft confirmed in a blog post that it's planning to meet with TLC on Monday to iron out the details.

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