5 Things Cofounder John Zimmer Wants St. Louis to Know About Lyft

Lindsay Toler
A Lyft driver is cited by police in front of St. Louis City Hall.
So if he's not trying to be difficult, what exactly is Zimmer trying to be? Here are the five main takeaways from Daily RFT's conversation with John Zimmer, the cofounder of Lyft:

No. 1. Lyft is not backing down, even after a judge's order.

A judge has approved a temporary restraining order against Lyft in St. Louis until a hearing on May 6, but Zimmer says he has no plans to tell his drivers to stop picking up passengers.

"While we want to be respectful, we also need to stand up for our community and for our business," Zimmer says.

Zimmer says no one at Lyft knew about the hearing for the injunction until the judge had already granted it. Lyft's legal team met with the judge a few days later, but there was no change in the temporary restraining order.

"We never had notice and ability to defend ourselves," Zimmer says.

Zimmer says Lyft will defend its mission from the judge's restraining order.

"We care a lot about this mission," Zimmer says. "We care a lot about making transportation more community-oriented, more efficient. We have a responsibility to push that forward."

See also: Taxi Driver: Lyft is as Bad for St. Louis Workers as Walmart, Fast Food

No. 2. Zimmer is disappointed that the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission lied about Lyft in court.

As the taxi commission made its case to the judge, Billings, a lawyer for the commission, suggested one of the three Lyft drivers cited for operating illegally was also arrested on a felony warrant -- a claim he repeated to the Riverfront Times and St. Louis Business Journal.

As it turns out, the claim was false. Police told KMOX that no Lyft drivers had any outstanding warrants.

"It's disappointing," says Zimmer. "When people say things that aren't true, that's exactly why we want to make sure the message about what we do do is out there. There are people who don't want these solutions to be around and available to people in St. Louis."

Billings told KMOX he was given inaccurate information about an arrest by a source he would not identify.

See also: Judge Says Lyft Must Stop in St. Louis; Lyft Calls Restraining Order "Bullying and Intimidation"

"We are truly saddened that the court issued a temporary restraining order against Lyft after Mr. Billings made his false and reckless statements," says Erin Simpson, Lyft's director of communications. "We are currently exploring all legal options and we will, as always, continue to stand up for our wonderful driver community and the interests of the people of St. Louis who have so enthusiastically embraced Lyft."

No. 3. Zimmer thinks Lyft leads the industry in safety standards.

Zimmer says he's proud of the safety standards his company has developed to protect drivers, passengers and anyone traveling around them.

"We're protecting consumers more than they are being protected by current industries," Zimmer says. "It's important that our whole industry follows the safety standards we already do."

Lyft Safety Chart

Lyft calls its $1 million excess liability insurance plan a "first-of-its-kind" solution. The policy covers driver liability for bodily injury and/or property damage of passengers and/or third parties from the time a driver accepts a ride request until the ride is ended in the app.

See also: Lyft Never Told New Drivers It's Technically Illegal, Not Licensed in St. Louis

Lyft's $1 million liability coverage and three other policies are supposed to cover drivers while they're working since their personal insurance policies don't apply to commercial uses.

Lyft also claims its background checks are more extensive -- looking for more types of crimes further back in time -- than the taxicab commission's standards.
"It's important that our whole industry follows the same safety standards we already do," Zimmer says. "The fact is, we do more, and we want to make sure people know that. We achieve a higher degree of safety."

What does Zimmer think of Uber moving into town with the mayor's support? Find out on the next page.

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Douglas Dial
Douglas Dial

If you got a text, you probably downloaded the app.

Anna Parker
Anna Parker

Yes almost became a driver. Backed out last minute.

jaco1175 topcommenter

I cannot fucking stand people like this guy. "What we are doing is different, the rules don't apply to us, we are hipster douchbags, radical dude!" Fuck him and the rest of the little twerps who think that riding around with some underpaid douche with a pink mustache on his car is so fucking groundbreaking while they send their money out of town to cockhead venture capitalists in California. Fucking idiots.


Miss Toler, please ask Mr Zimmer this simple question "Where would an injured Lyft rider FIRST try to collect a claim...with the driver's personal car insurance or against Lyft's $1M Excess Liability Policy?" And please post the answer, if you can get a straight answer, in an update. Thank you.

Iva Marie Gibbs
Iva Marie Gibbs

Above are the MTC board. Now look up how many of these people own, have family that own, or have a "personal interest" in a stl taxi company... It's interesting. List taken from MTC website.

Iva Marie Gibbs
Iva Marie Gibbs

Louis P. Hamilton - Chairman Dave McNutt - Vice Chairman of Operations W. Thomas Reeves - Vice Chairman of Finance Eyasu Asfaw Vincent Bennett Adebabay Gidey Basil Rudawsky Larry Satz J. Kim Tucci


Napster was a peer-to-peer sharing;

Enron had a disdain for regulation;

Subprime mortgage lenders took advantage of the lack of regulation enforcement and deregulation and help the bubble to burst;

"Corporate social mobilization" and you want to call it "community powered"? really?

Who is getting richer your venture capital investors or the struggling underemployed or unemployed Lyft driver? Lyft, you skimp on insurance by making it contingent not primary, and make it hard to see and impossible to use. You sucked the value of the drivers cars and you made them believe they made an unbelievable hourly rate while risking it all, for lyft to make a profit.

James R Johnson
James R Johnson

Lyft and Uber are worlds apart in what they provide to the consumers one is luxury and you pay dearly for it and the other is convenience at an appropriate cost. The Taxi commission in St. Louis serves only to protect business and prohibit free market competition. IT DOES NOT PROTECT CONSUMERS!!! If it did it would have had more than 75% of its' workforce working on New Years Eve of 2014. The taxi services that currently reside in St. Louis are an embarrassment to the entire metro area. I've used taxis all over the world, as well as Uber and 'Am familiar with Lyft and by far the shadiest, dirtiest, and most dangerous I've come across are the taxis here in St. Louis.


How exactly is Uber planning on working with the Taxi Commission? Are riders only going to be able to get rides from existing taxis like with Carmel? City officials seem to think that this is all about wanting to hail a taxi from your smartphone and it's not. 

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