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

lyftcar1234.jpg
Alfredo Medez on Flickr
Will a judge's order stop Lyft?
Lyft says it's staying on in St. Louis, even after a circuit court judge granted a temporary restraining order to stop the company from operating here.

"Lyft is now live and providing safe rides and economic opportunity in 34 cities across the United States," Lyft spokeswoman Paige Thelen said after receiving a copy of the injunction. St. Louis and Salt Lake City were the 33rd and 34th cities to join Lyft's list. "St. Louis deserves the same modern transportation choices of other large leading U.S. cities."

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

Lyft decried the restraining order as an intimidation tactic from the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission (MTC), which is citing Lyft drivers for operating in St. Louis without proper licenses. Thelen says Lyft didn't know about the restraining order until Judge David Dowd granted it.

"We never received notice or an opportunity to appear in court to defend ourselves, drivers and passengers prior to the injunction being issued," Thelen says. "This violates our due process rights under the U.S. Constitution. We will defend our rights and the rights of drivers and passengers in court. We will not let bullying and intimidation by the taxi commission keep the people of St Louis from exploring this new model of community-powered, safe rides and economic opportunity."

UPDATE, 11:15 a.m.: St. Louis Metropolitan Police issued summons to two Lyft drivers for driving an unregistered car and for driving without a license on Saturday.

The drivers are Melanie Darmsteadter of St. Louis and Nicholas Gordon of O'Fallon. End of update.

Update, 4/24: Police say that despite the taxi commission's claims, no Lyft drivers have been arrested. End of update.

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Lindsay Toler
The first Lyft driver is cited in St. Louis.
The taxi commission sent Lyft a cease-and-desist letter before Friday's launch.

"They ignored that," says Charles Billings, a lawyer for the taxicab commission, "and decided to launch vehicles for hire that the MTC believes are in violation of Missouri law."

See also: Lyft Driver Cited By St. Louis Police Says He Wasn't Doing Anything Wrong

The judge will hear arguments from Lyft and the taxi commission on May 6. If Lyft violates the judge's order to stop business in St. Louis, the judge can hold the company in contempt of court.

The fight over Lyft in St. Louis all comes down to safety. Lyft says its standards are thoroughly strict, but the taxi commission says one of Lyft's drivers has already been arrested on a felony warrant.

Read more about how Lyft's safety standards stack up on page two.


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45 comments
Frank May
Frank May

St Louis taxi service has been a joke for for a long time. We need a breath of fresh air. Lyft could be the answer !

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

This is idiotic. I had a friend in town from Buffalo and he didn't realize his job was so far from Lambert Field and so he didn't rent a car. The amount it cost him to take a taxi from Lambert to Chesterfield and back would have been the same as if he rented a car for the weekend. Because of that, he has no desire to come back to St. Louis. It's too expensive to get around and the public transit doesn't go everywhere. Lyft is changing that and the taxi services are just scared of the competition and trying to use the law to shut down a valid business that is NEEDED in this city.

Johnny Padilla
Johnny Padilla

Just one of my friends driving me home. We go waaaaaaayyyy back.

Mike Fortmann
Mike Fortmann

Someone needs to remind the police of the car break-in problems......that's a great area to expend some efforts..

Chelsy McInnis
Chelsy McInnis

Carmel is an actual long-standing limo service from New York that opened here. It partners with existing car companies licensed by the MTC. But it is the perfect example of old taxi cab and car services adapting to the new technology.

Philip Rock
Philip Rock

Yeah cab drivers are so safe. None of them are sketchy, or run stop signs, stop lights, speed through residential and pedestrian areas, nearly hit peopls or drive 10+ under on the highwaym oh wait, ive seen all of those from cab drivers in the past 2 weeks. Anyone who works down town will tell you how bad the cab companies are here.

Kevin Dickmeyer
Kevin Dickmeyer

And yes, I use all forms of public transportation here in StL.

Kevin Dickmeyer
Kevin Dickmeyer

Mass transit itself doesn't suck...St. Louis' however does. The bus lines are terrible, and very infrequent on the weekends. They shut them down after midnight...leaving no choice but to walk or call a cab. Metrolink only goes a few directions. If this city is ever going to be in a top tier of cities (which it will never be in our lifetime) it MUST focus on the transportation needs of everyone. The cab companies are mostly nothing more than businesses with independent contractors working for them. Try that idea in places like Chicago or New York.

Philip Rock
Philip Rock

Why do you think mass transit sucks so bad? Ths cab companies have done what they can to sabotage our public transit system. The metro can be convenient but only for very specific trips. There need to be more lines and stops in the city rather than red, blue, north, south, thats it

Philip Rock
Philip Rock

I watched a cab run a stop light and nearly hit a pedestrian on wash ave last week. Also got stuck behind a cab going 50 in a 60 on 44.

Musa Twosevennine
Musa Twosevennine

Harrison Elfrink Umar Lee Quote from the article: "The drivers are Melanie Darmsteadter of St. Louis and Nicholas Gordon of O'Fallon. Darmsteadter was also arrested on an outstanding felony warrant" Lyft says they're doing thorough background checks, guess not.

Rebecca Morgan
Rebecca Morgan

Francis slay must not be making a million so that's why it is being chased off St. Louis city is so crooked that's why I left after 40 years of living there and not receiving anything for my taxes just more more more he did put in big flower pots along grand av and messed up the traffic and all the people would keep voting his weak sorry ass in

Kelly Holmes
Kelly Holmes

It's impossible to get a cab after an event in STL. Go pink mustaches.

Lori N Tim Fowler
Lori N Tim Fowler

As long as they're doing things legally, and hiring legal citizens and providing safe environments for their customers then let them be.

ut_4_me
ut_4_me topcommenter

Pretty much everyone involved in this case are whiny bitches.  The chick interviewd on channel 2 yesterday did have a great set of headlights, though.

Bill Benson
Bill Benson

Ahhhh, Lyft... the Cliven Bundy of rideshares.

Kevin Dickmeyer
Kevin Dickmeyer

Go Lyft!!! The cab companies (and Metro) in this city SUCK...long wait times, outrageous fares...From someone who uses our pathetic mass transit services (and it truly is NOT a real mass transit system) I applaud and welcome Lyft!!!

Jason M Parker
Jason M Parker

Jeffrey Nunn wins the interwebs for today. The solution makes sense. Now where cam I get a pink mustache

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

Go Pink Mustache - Go! I'm rooting for you all the way!! Why doesn't STL have a "Support Free Enterprise & Pink Moustache Day!" and everyone take Lyft somewhere that day to show our support?? Come on STL - let's welcome the newcomer & send the traditional cab companies here a HUGE message - compete fairly or lose!

Kat Touschner
Kat Touschner

What would it take to get them officially legal/licensed with the city? Didn't car-Mel (or whatever it's called) go through the proper channels?

Zachary Slavens
Zachary Slavens

The insurance argument is a joke. Every car has to be licensed in the state they operate in, so for STL, that's Missouri. To get your license plates, you have to carry at least state minimum coverage. So immediately the claims of "no insurance" is a total joke, and if the government wants to start saying that their mandated minimum insurance coverage is insufficient, then that's on them, not drivers and businesses.

Richard Griffin
Richard Griffin

as I understand it cabbies have to have their vehicles checked to make sure they are safe to travel in and they have to have criminal background checks as well as other safe guards.

Greg Grooms
Greg Grooms

They need to get legal first. Second, they should get rid of the mustache. The grill with holes for air flow are there for a reason.

Timothy Schneider
Timothy Schneider

Funny in a city that had no real mass transit system they would stop this. Why? Oh wait people would have a choice.

Cheryl Geppert
Cheryl Geppert

Capitalism is what this country is ALL about. I think it's BS they are saying they have to STOP! The drivers aren't being PAID to drive! They work on tips ONLY. The taxi commission is nothing more then a teamster wanna be!

Mark Shaffer
Mark Shaffer

It's not the drivers being dangerous, it's the safety of the drivers from their customers

Jeffrey Nunn
Jeffrey Nunn

So let me get something straight here... You can give sex away for free but you can't charge for it, and you can give rides in your car away for free but you can't charge for it right? SOLUTION! Pay Lyft drivers with sex!

Kenny Bristol
Kenny Bristol

If they break the law they need to be stopped.

Douglas Dial
Douglas Dial

50 Free rides(up to $25 value each) all over the city for founding users of the Lyft app until May 3rd!!!! The future is here! Download the Free App today! Share it!

Drew Somervell
Drew Somervell

If cab companies in St. Louis didn't completely suck, we wouldn't need Lyft. If I need a ride, I'll be calling a mustache and Laclede can suck it.

Kyle Stark
Kyle Stark

And I made it 24 minutes into my day before hearing that fucking hipster buzzword "bullying".

Tony Miller
Tony Miller

if only they worked as hard to police violent crimminals...smh

Laura Heying
Laura Heying

I say we boycott cab companies until they adapt to the market or leave Lyft alone.

David Hays
David Hays

How bout they pay off the city like everyone else. $$$ Talks!

Reegan Bennett Armstrong
Reegan Bennett Armstrong

And St. Louis considers it's licensed cab drivers safe? I've been cut off a few times by cabs and when I've had to call for a ride some of the cabs have been dirty inside. I hope Lyft keeps going. If we have more choices, the success of your business will be based on customer satisfaction and not the monopoly the industry has on the market.

Robert Michael
Robert Michael

just saw one of those pink mustaches this morning, keep going guys

Jason Allen
Jason Allen

Sounds like they're just trying to bully out the competition. I'm all for more options and I like the idea of lyft. Saw the pink mustaches in Nashville and had no clue what they were for. Cab prices are to high in St. Louis. A friend and I left one nigh from a blues game. From scottrade to the lumière was just over 10 bucks. Not worth it when the metro is a lot less. I could see 5 and tip. Hell I would've gladly gave 5 and a 5 dollar tip.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Silly citizens. Don't you know that the transportation market has been monopolized?

Dave Brown
Dave Brown

If they would take off those silly pink mustaches, no one would ever know they are Lyft drivers

Andrew Bell
Andrew Bell

I'm going to start crowd-sourcing doctors, but in order to get around all "bullying and intimidation" I'm just going to not call them doctors.

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