Science and Tech


N.Y. Attorney General Stalls Lyft Rideshare Debut

Lyft and the state attorney general are at loggerheads over the ride-booking service’s entry into New York City.
Posted at 10:49 AM, Jul 12, 2014

San Francisco-based rideshare service Lyft put the brakes on its Big Apple plans this week.

This, following a lawsuit from the New York Attorney General’s office, which claimed Lyft was not going by the book. (Via Spiros Vathis / CC BY NC ND 2.0)

“Instead of collaborating with the State to help square innovation with statute and protect the public … Lyft decided to move ahead and simply ignore state and local laws.”

The Attorney General’s statement says it got an injunction against Lyft’s operations from the state supreme court on Friday, after the city’s Taxi and Limousine commission raised safety and licensing concerns.

Lyft is holding off its launch, but says it’s because the judge adjourned to Monday — not because the Attorney General got a court order. Any mention of an injunction, Lyft said, is “a deliberate misstatement by the AG.”

On Twitter, the Attorney General’s chief of staff promptly gave as good as he got: “Lyft and [Lyft co-founder John Zimmer] are not just ‘distruptive’ but also personally dishonest.” (Via Twitter / @MicahLasher)

With court adjourned until Monday, the tech press has little to do but watch business executives and public officials call each other liars on the Internet. But behind the name-calling is an important target for Lyft. (Via Turnstyle, SlashGear, The Verge)

Uber, Lyft’s main competition, is already up and running in NYC — even chopping prices last month to get more of the market.

Numbers from TechCrunch show fees for the two companies are identical — so one of the biggest ways to get ahead could be time spent courting customers. Basically, the longer Lyft is tied up in court, the longer Uber has to run free in the streets of New York.

Lyft, for its part, doesn’t plan to waste any more time than it has to. The company says it will work with the Taxi and Limousine Commission to make its service legal, starting Monday.