Lyft Driver Cited By St. Louis Police Says He Wasn't Doing Anything Wrong
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:
Almost impossible to believe St. Louis police resources are behind used to stop @lyft drivers on a Friday night. But that's whats happening.— Scott Ogilvie (@ward24stl) April 19, 2014