End of the road for Lyft?

Posted at: 07/25/2014 10:55 PM
Updated at: 07/25/2014 11:10 PM
By: Lynette Adams

Could it be the end of the road for a popular ride sharing service? The New York State Attorney General’s Office reached an agreement forcing Lyft to hit the brakes on operations both in Rochester and Buffalo. That agreement is set to take effect August 1. So now, the company will launch the service in New York City with commercial drivers only.

Lyft drivers put a fuzzy pink mustache on the front of their own cars and pick up people, who make requests through an app. Officials previously claimed the company violated licensing and insurance laws.

Timothy German said, “Whether it stays or it goes, I’m still going to be okay.”

German looked into the taxi business, but the start-up costs were too high. So when he learned about Lyft, it seemed like the perfect answer. He has been driving full-time for the past couple of months and making enough money to earn a living.

German said, “It has been great. You can be your own boss, like in a traditional cab company.”

But come August 1, German and scores of other drivers will have to hang up the signature Lyft pink mustache. Lyft has agreed to stop its services in Rochester and Buffalo to resolve a court order by the New York State Attorney General and to clear the way to launch service in New York City. The attorney general says Lyft is not in compliance with state insurance regulations. 

Getachew Mengesha said, “I spend $4,300 for insurance every year.”

This is good news for cab drivers like Getachew Mengesha. He says it is not fair. Cab drivers are required to pay thousands to operate in the state every year, yet they are losing a portion of their business to services like Lyft.

Mengesha said, “This is the worst time for cab drivers, we're not making nothing at all.”

Some Lyft customers are unhappy to hear this service will no longer be available in just a few days.

Anthony Castiglia said, “I'm definitely disappointed. I've used it twice and it was a good experience. Definitely better than all the times I've taken the cabs.”

Banke McCullough said, “Businesses are leaving New York State because our rules are so stringent. It is not a cab company. You have civilians driving people.”

Lyft operates under carpooling and ride sharing laws. German says Lyft provides $1 million in liability insurance for each driver, but this does not satisfy state regulations.