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

Categories: Bidness

lyft_car_on_road.jpg
Lyft
Olandi says he's concerned about violence breaking out between Lyft drivers and full-time taxi drivers who think Lyft is encroaching on their turf. The MTC already heard a report of cabbies threatening a car with a pink mustache in front of a downtown hotel, but investigators couldn't find any evidence.

Full-time taxi drivers are a diverse group, but many, Olandi says, are recent immigrants who turn to driving full-time when their educational or professional qualifications don't translate to the U.S. workplace.

"These guys are trying to support families," he says.

But Lyft drivers are a totally different crowd, famous for driving part-time for beer money or to help pay off student loans. When Olandi briefed police on Friday's assignment, he described Lyft drivers as college-educated people who work during the day and drive mom and dad's car on the side.

"We're trying to get this person to do business the way everybody else does business," Olandi told police before Friday night's shift.

When Lyft drivers get pulled over, MTC agents give them a list of St. Louis taxi companies they can work for legally.

Their passengers, however, get kicked to the curb. After a Lyft driver is cited, his or her passengers have to find a new ride, Olandi says.

The MTC's reaction to Lyft drew prompt Twitter criticism from Ward 24 Alderman Scott Ogilive:

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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101 comments
rattmatliff
rattmatliff

Hi there!!  My name is Matt, and I AM the Lyft driver you see in this picture.  I can assure you that I am not a Hipster (just ask my 10 year old daughter, or 7 year old son!), nor do I drive for "beer money" or to pay off student loans.  Lastly, no Lyft driver is driving "mom or dad's" car.  Funny thing... I was pulled over for having a pink mustache on my car... not for speeding, running a red light, faulty lights or equipment, failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign.... The reason I was given, was I had a pink mustache on my car, and I had passengers.  I guess for Lyft drivers, it is now illegal to take your kids to school with the mustache on (like I do every morning). I found it very strange that a police officer, a person from the taxi cab commissioner's office, and a local reporter from the riverfront times were riding together, for the sole purpose of pulling over a Lyft driver...(illegal - profiling) I was pulled over illegally (no cause), and sat on the side of the road for 24 minutes. 


Lyft ran background checks on me nationally, and also in every state that I have ever lived in.  I also had to provide them with proof of insurance (full coverage), as well as current registration (in my name to prove it was MY car, not my parents... which would be sad as I am nearly 40 years old...).  Then a representative from Lyft literally did a full inside and out inspection of my vehicle.


Why do I drive for Lyft if it isn't for munchies, and beer?


My spouse and I were BOTH laid off in September by the same company on the same day.  With typical bills, as well as two children to take care of, this was a very unwelcomed event.


I was able to land another job in about a month's time, but my spouse hasn't had as much luck, and is currently working a small part time job while searching for another job in her field.


The added income received from Lyft donations has provided my family with the needed funds to cover the income that was yanked out from beneath us.


I am really sorry that the taxi cab commissioner's office doesn't like the fact that Lyft is in St. Louis.  It doesn't really surprise me because if I am not mistaken, a few members of this commission OWN taxi companies in St. Louis!  And this is the same office that announced that one of the three folks cited that night in St. Louis was arrested on an outstanding felony warrant, which was later proven to be a big fat lie... that they still told a time or two more....


Anyway, I am just a regular hard working guy like the rest of you.  Most likely more hard working than most of you honestly speaking...


I write all of this to say, "Thanks!!".  It has been a long time since I was referred to as "Hip"


#LyftSTL





Donna Conte
Donna Conte

No good deed goes unpunished. Whatever

Stancy Tarheel
Stancy Tarheel

Lyft = car pooling and you chip in for gas.. I guess if I ran a taxi cab and charged $2 for 1/10 of a mile i be pissed too if i couldnt over charge customes on a regular basis lol... GO LYFT..

Michael Mytzlplyk
Michael Mytzlplyk

That's because the city of Saint Louis is so safe and crime free, they have NOTHING better to do, and the Police Chief Sam Dotson is always on a political campaign.

colitisscope
colitisscope

This moron was driving people around, charging them money and lying to them about having proper insurance.  If Uber and Lyft were simply giving people an app to hook up with a person with a car and let THEM sort out their own insurance, it wouldn't be a problem.  But Lyft and uber are giving their drivers and customers a bunch of bullshit about an insurance policy that their own service agreement negates, forcing their customers to only use credit card and charging 20% of the drivers income for all of these mythical safety and procurement terms.  THAT is independent contracting via commercial transportation and with that many dumb ass terms behind these "services" it isn't just dangerous, it is bone headed to even agree to what they offer.  They have already racked up millions in damages suffered by people injured and killed by their drivers who weren't even using the service and then Uber and Lyft dumped all those costs on the tax payers and victims because they have no insurance coverage.  You have to be incredibly stupid or just plain psycho to consider these legitimate businesses no matter how much money is behind them.

Which brings me to another point.  Just check out the CEOs of these companies and what they did before and just where their money is coming from.

Stephanie Peace
Stephanie Peace

I thought that St. Louis city was able to get an injunction against Lyft to not be able to run their app in this area and in the county as of today.

Katie Wurtz Fox
Katie Wurtz Fox

Maybe if the police weren't chasing the mustache all weekend they would have caught the three thugs committing an assault/robbery on Friday night at dubliner and a robbery at gunpoint on Saturday night in a parking lot on 17th and Wash ave.

Sara Spears
Sara Spears

Maybe if St. Louis taxi drivers didn't constantly pretend like they can't take credit cards bc the "machine's not working" people wouldn't be so eager for another option.

James R Johnson
James R Johnson

Let's start at Lyft campaign with big pink ribbons on trees and light poles where Lyft is needed!!

Craig A. Kohler
Craig A. Kohler

I'm not denying the convenience of Uber, I've just sold limousines and dealt with the chauffeured industry for quite a while. The gap that is the problem with Uber is the driver only carries their own insurance...for instance to run a limousine it might take a million dollar policy on each individual car...this covers the worst case scenario. Should a death or other serious injury occur, Uber takes no responsibility for the accident as they consider themselves a tech company putting people in need of a ride in direct contact with someone driving. You pretty much need a pulse to get a chauffeur license, so there is really no training that goes with that. Again, it isn't that Uber is necessarily a bad idea, it is just massively underinsured.

Timothy Schmitz
Timothy Schmitz

How is this any different than calling a buddy and giving him gas money? Dotson you have your priorities straight yes yes

Liv Stiles
Liv Stiles

I'm just waiting for these people to say you can only drive with family in your car.. and still get taxed for it. Who cares...no good deed goes unpunished.

Joe Hartman
Joe Hartman

I wonder where IN BEV stands on this?

hmrobison
hmrobison

A law was passed last September that prevents police from pulling over any specific vehicle group. This is a clear violation of that law. It is profiling and discriminatory.

James R Johnson
James R Johnson

Uber only uses licensed chauffeurs, try before you kick it. It's really really nice, effective, and controlled. The chauffeurs in ATL, DEN, MIA, that I've spoken to who use it love it as a way to supplement their income between reserved calls.

James R Johnson
James R Johnson

Taxi Cab Commission = East African Mob. #ShouldhaveworkedNEWYEARSEVE

James Knight
James Knight

I get that they're trying to keep people safe from unregulated drivers. Who knows one could be a kidnapper. But isn't that kind of an "at your own risk" kind of thing? Cheaper, but not guaranteed quality. I see no problem with that business model and I think its disturbing that the Police are being used as a form of corporate police force by the MTC. There are some serious crimes out there to protect people from! Focus on that!

Hoffmeyer Jeffrey
Hoffmeyer Jeffrey

Taxi cabs -> $18 for a lift from Shrewsbury to Dogtown. $36 round trip. Thats insane. I'll never have anything decent to say about the taxi cab commision.

David M. Skirball Jr.
David M. Skirball Jr.

What a load of shit. SLMPD can't find any REAL criminals so let's make bogus requests for rides and harass folks trying to make an HONEST living. I know it's not likely, but I hope Lyft drivers sue them for arranging for rides then not paying for their business.

Craig A. Kohler
Craig A. Kohler

I'll be entirely honest, I've served the chauffeured industry the last decade. Lyft and Uber have little to no liability and in a worst case scenario wouldd leave you or your family fucked. There are a ton of rules and regulations to adhere to transport patrons safely. "Gypsy" operators work great in a best case scenario world. I'm torn because I'm a limited government guy, but it's also nice to know if my chauffeur is a responsibly trained transporter that accepts liability should there be an accident.

Cheryl Thomas
Cheryl Thomas

Yes because why spend time preventing shootings? Let's be tyranny patrol instead.

Zachary Florence
Zachary Florence

@stlpd, whatever you do, dont increase patrols in south city. Then maybe you might get some guns off the street. We wouldnt want to distract you from the real crime of carpooling.

Chris Davis
Chris Davis

Somebody with enough pull to distract our entire police force apparently.

Avacado
Avacado

Yeah, the cabbies downtown are the WORST.  They never have enough change, drive slow, take the long way, that should be illegal, but its not.  Let people make money the way they want without being scammers like 99 percent of the cab drivers.  Who cares if they are from another country and have to support their families, so does everyone else.

Theirry Less
Theirry Less

It's because the police feel threatened, isn't it. Like, they won't make any revenue if nobody is driving away from a bar drunk. The cab companies are probably crying about it, too. Ridiculous. These drivers are volunteering to drive people to their respective home and I think it's awesome. Bad St Louis police- bad!

Lauren M Brace
Lauren M Brace

It really bothers me that the city wasted the abilities of two officers by having them write traffic citations when there are real crimes going on. They really aren't doing anything wrong and issuing citations to the customers and not the company is silliness.

JusticeServed
JusticeServed

To anyone who wishes to do business as a Lyft employee, keep in mind the Taxi Cab Commission has NO bearing on that kind of business.  They can only 'regulate' (if you would call that) taxi cabs that have received a license through their office (which is a GIANT scheme in itself.)  

If you are a Lyft driver in St.Louis, let the Taxi Commission harass you and threaten you all they want, but they cannot do a thing to you.  You let them know, you will sue their pants off and win every time.  Every cab driver I know who has filed a lawsuit against the commission has either won or settled.  It is because they run a Kangaroo Court Scheme out of their little office over on Jefferson and Delmar.   They send their little officers, (including the TERRIBLE one, named Terry, that kind of looks like Mary J. Blige, sorry Mary J, she does) to go out and write falsified tickets to anyone who is breathing, just to put more 00's on their paycheck.  They use retired or fired police officers to do their dirty work, and because the majority of the Cabbies downtown are all foreigners, they never do anything about it. 

These poor immigrants all work for the rival color cabs, so the commission gives them hell.   The foreigner cabbies just pay the tickets, and let these bullying non-regulated jerks walk right over them.    So many schemes the Commission is pulling, but how could you blame them when one of their own board members, Dave McNutt,  OWNs Laclede Cab!!!   You start to see how the commission never shits on Laclede Cab etc., but the other colored cabs they will take them for their pants.   To put it plainly, the STL Taxi Cab Commission is looking for their cut.  The only cut I would like to see is the Commission cut out from St.Louis all together. 

The public needs to know about the scams and illegal operations coming out of the 'self-regulated' St.Louis Taxi Cab Commission.  The MTC needs an overhaul, getting rid of EVERYONE on the board, including the executive director.   There need to be people working on the board that have no monetary gain by being there (ie. if you are the owner of a cab company, you shouldn't be on the board), but yet understand the day-to-day life of being a cabbie. It should be the choice of the public and the cabbies to appoint the Board for the MTC, not the individuals on the board.  In reality, the cab drivers of St.Louis need to get together to figure this out; but being on an on-call cabbie schedule, there's never really a time to sit down and do this, as it is mainly a hand-to-mouth kind of business.  It's just an overall shame.  That is why I would love to see a app like Lyft assist to liberate the Courtesy Drivers of St.Louis from the claws of the corrupt MTC for once and for all.    


It cannot hurt to have good competition.  This is the way we are progressing technologically. So matter how much the MTC tries to kill this thing, it just won't work.

Couch Pig
Couch Pig

St louis city cops act like they are the supreme rulers along with that mayor they have had for 14 years

cobeck22
cobeck22

The passengers do not get kicked to the curb. I'd know- I was in the passenger seat of the car pulled over last night (the VW in the picture). 

Andycrossett
Andycrossett

Pretty stupid.  Its clear there is a law on the books.

If you want to operate a taxi service you have to abide by the local laws.

Period.  I'm ok with the service, but you have to follow the law.

Guess what, the local cabbies also have android and iphone apps.

You're not doing anything innovative here.

Uber was the innovator.  Of course we all want a "black car' experience. But you have to pay for it. And if you offer this type service, you still have to have a license, wear a white shirt and a tie, just like all other cabbies.  Its the law.

Gary Mobley
Gary Mobley

So...if i buy a tow truck, am i allowed to tow people without a CDL license?

Gary Mobley
Gary Mobley

Monique Hammond that makes u an ass for speeding...

Gary Mobley
Gary Mobley

So...its OK to open a non bonded taxi company without a license? What happens if a passenger gets hurt in an accident?

mstettner1127
mstettner1127

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abusive_pillow
abusive_pillow

Actually all Lyft Drivers have a criminal background checks run before they are allowed to drive. As well as having their driving record pulled and checked to see if they have any moving violations or at fault accidents.

buddecj
buddecj

Or water purity or plumbing inspections or teacher certifications or doctor's degrees or the amount of lead in the atmosphere. Just everybody do anything they feel like whenever they feel like doing it. Terrific analysis.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@JusticeServed Complete and utter bullshit. Next you'll try to tell everyone that you don't really need to have a license to drive or register your car because of some shit you read on the internet.

barefootbabi
barefootbabi

Totally different scenario and you know it.

I have had my CDL for 24 years, have owned and operated a fleet of semi trucks and owned and operated a fleet of cabs so I know the difference. 

Yes, Lyft is similar to a cab service. 

Most cab drivers are merely renting their cars/insurance/etc from a larger company and pay for their own gas so, if they don't make enough to cover the cost of their rental, that's not the cab company's problem. At least, that's how a traditional cab company thinks of it or they would actually hire employees like I did. 

My cab service owned all of the cars, we hired/fired employees on an hourly rate and let them keep 100% of their tips, paid all of the insurances (including worker's comp) and gas/maintenance, etc. so, on a slow night, my drivers still made their paycheck... even if I didn't.

While I don't live in St. Louis so I can't attest to what is happening there, that's how it works in Salt Lake City.

Lyft, now, has a rider insurance of $1 Million, per incidence but, no, they don't cover the vehicle for damage. Vehicle damage is taken care of by the driver's personal policy. Only the riders are covered by Lyft's insurance. 

In my local metro, the 2 largest cab companies went to legal "war" over what they each perceived as "their territory" and caused injunctions for all cabs coming in to and leaving the city and major airport. How fair do you think that was when they were trying to block cab companies, from 100 miles away (where they had no service), from entering/leaving the city and airport with "fares"?

IMHO, what goes around, comes around. They tried to "corner the market" by blocking others from free enterprise so it's time that free enterprise fights back.

Do I think Lyft (or Uber or any Peer-To-Peer) system is perfect or will take them over? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, if cab companies want to maintain their businesses, they need to start looking within their doors, not to others. If they did their job in a fair and respectful manner, PTP companies wouldn't be sought after.




JusticeServed
JusticeServed

@jaco1175 @JusticeServed I am a former cab driver.  Dealing with the MTC is A LOT different than the license fee office.  I would never encourage anyone to operate a standard vehicle without a license from a state office.  Operating a vehicle as a courtesy driver on the other hand should not require all the non-sense that MTC puts you through.  I wish to see justice served for courtesy vehicle operators of all sorts.  Thank you Jaco for your comment.

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