Lyft Fights Injunction in St. Louis Court: "It's Just Not Fair"

lyftstl.jpg
Lyft
Lyft's emblematic pink mustache has arrived in St. Louis. Will a judge let it stay?
The future of Lyft in St. Louis isn't final yet.

A St. Louis judge delayed ruling on an injunction that would ban the ride-sharing app from operating in the Lou Wednesday until she could hear further testimony.

The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, which regulates cars-for-hire in the city and county, is asking for a permanent injunction against Lyft, which does not have a business license or a commercial driving license in Missouri.

"We don't know who these people are," Charles Billings, a lawyer for the taxi commission, told the court about Lyft and its fleet of drivers Wednesday. "They are putting themselves in danger because they haven't been properly trained. They are putting their riders in danger because they do not have insurance."

Lyft says its peer-to-peer ride-sharing business is outside the scope of the taxicab commission's regulation since the cars don't have a taximeter or pick up riders who hail them on the street. Riders order and pay for Lyft rides via smartphone.

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

"[The taxi commission] is trying to regulate something beyond their mandate," Stephen O'Brien, a lawyer representing Lyft, told the court. O'Brien called the commission's attempts to set rules for Lyft unfair, inappropriate and overreaching. "They simply don't have the jurisdiction."

A judge approved a temporary restraining order against Lyft in St. Louis until the permanent injunction is decided. O'Brien says that order restricts Lyft's right to freedom of speech by limiting how the company can explain its unique business model to potential riders.

"They are shutting us up," O'Brien argued in court. "We have a regulator who is going amuk...It's just not fair."

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

Five Lyft drivers have been cited for operating without proper licenses. The drivers are named in the injunction, but only the two St. Louis drivers had been notified about Wednesday's hearing. The other three are from O'Fallon, Missouri, Nashville, Tennessee, and Bellville, Illinois.

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Lindsay Toler
A driver from Nashville, Tennessee, is cited in St. Louis for driving with Lyft.
Ray Mundy, the director of the University of Missouri-St. Louis' Center for Transportation Studies, testified that Lyft operates as a taxi service but avoids significant overhead costs by asking drivers to provide their own vehicles and personal car insurance and by not paying state or franchise taxes.

"This is not ride-sharing, not at all," Mundy says. "There is no question that Lyft has spent a lot of money and hired a lot of lawyers trying to reinterpret the obvious: it's a taxi operation."

Because Lyft only connects with customers via smartphones and credit cards, Mundy told the court the service discriminates against the poor (who often don't have credit cards) and the elderly (who aren't tech-savvy). By introducing an unregulated transportation service like Lyft into the St. Louis scene, prices for regulated taxis and public transportation will likely go up, Mundy says.

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

"Under these conditions, the poor will pay more," Mundy testified.

Judge Joan Moriarty of the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court will reschedule the remaining testimonies in the case for early next week.

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

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48 comments
Cory Hart
Cory Hart

"Waaaah!!!"- Lyft They said no, but did it anyway. Fight the policy first, then bring in your business.

rattmatliff
rattmatliff

Each time I read one of these in the #RiverfrontTimes , I can't help but notice that it is written from the point of view from the taxi folks... So much is incorrectly described, or left out completely... such as, if the passenger decides that they do not want to donate anything for the ride, the ride is free.... That is not a joke, it is really how it works... Asking for a donation, is not the same as charging a fee, or being "for hire". 


#JustSayin

samuel.roby
samuel.roby

"it's just not fair" - said the bank thief when caught in mid bank robbery.

He continued....


"I thought that evading taxes, ignoring court orders, contributing

nothing back to local economy, and spitting in the face of municipal

laws and regulations is something that everyone is doing....

Look. An iPhone app! Let me go!"


The nerve of ride-sharing trigger-happy crowd is astounding.

samuel.roby
samuel.roby

"it's just not fair" - said the bank thief when caught in mid bank robbery...

He continued....

"I thought that evading taxes, ignoring court orders, contributing nothing

back to local economy, and spitting in the face of municipal laws and regulations

is something that everyone is doing...."


The nerve of ride-sharing trigger-happy crowd is astounding.

dylanized
dylanized

How is more competition going to make the price of transit go UP???

Laura Hamm
Laura Hamm

I could verbally bitchslap you all the way back to your friends at the Juggalo gathering Insane Clownpussy

Laura Hamm
Laura Hamm

Maybe you'll drown first :) we can only hope

Laura Hamm
Laura Hamm

Come on Phineass hit me with your best shot lol

Laura Hamm
Laura Hamm

Does it hurt to see polysyllabic words?

caribirkner
caribirkner

The discrimination argument just doesn't hold water. Who is 'the poor' anyway? I could be poor tomorrow.

Laura Hamm
Laura Hamm

I think what with the POLAR ICE SHELVES COLLAPSING & the IMMINENT DANGER this poses to ALL LIFE ON EARTH we should REALLY BE REDUCING OUR CARBON FOOTPRINTS ANYWAY WE CAN including RIDESHARING before WE ALL DIE. Duh.

David Biernbaum
David Biernbaum

This seems to work out in every city in which I travel. I wish we could give it a chance here.

AmuseDouche11
AmuseDouche11

@publiceyestl If Lyft discriminates against the poor and elderly, than MTC discriminates against whatever I am and thirty somethings.

Pwnzorrz
Pwnzorrz

I seem to recall a few stories involving the Taxi Commission being butt-hurt about this and that in recent years.  Weren't they the ones who tried to outlaw the drunk bike thing in Soulard?


doublekickoriginal1
doublekickoriginal1

Its all ignorant politics and pay off money as usual business! Taxi cabs love the airports,they can take the scenic  routs for the unsuspecting!

Nathan Cromwell
Nathan Cromwell

Its called ride sharing and they do for donations unlike a taxi

Nathan Cromwell
Nathan Cromwell

Lyft hasn't been in st Louis for about a few weeks their app shows they have no drivers anymore

Pwnzorrz
Pwnzorrz

Sounds like Mundy suggests that there should be no alternative to taxi cabs because SOME people don't have credit cards and SOME aren't tech-savvy.  How are the poor and elderly able to afford these services currently?  If christoferguson is correct, aren't we ALL currently helping to pay?

Laura Dee
Laura Dee

St. Louis and Missouri in general seems to be scared of competition moving in. Legislature is trying to ban Tesla Motors from Missouri as well.

Angelo Olegna
Angelo Olegna

Please stop calling it "ride-sharing". It's an amateur taxi service. They "share" rides for money. Which is what a taxi is.

Jillian Ashley
Jillian Ashley

Plus, this is about the municipalities hands in the cab commissions cash register, not about safety.

Jillian Ashley
Jillian Ashley

I don't know about you, but I don't have the mental capacity of a 7 year old. I can made decisions for myself about what car I want to get into. Full coverage insurance covers passengers (unless there is a clause against hitchhikers). Cabbies are creepy and steal pennies on the dollar. They're technically strangers too, and are just as strange, if not stranger.

Chris Ferguson
Chris Ferguson

Has anyone ever entered a taxi that was driven by 'Not' a stranger? If my co-worker gives me a ride and we get into an accident who pays then? What about my mother?

Jason M Parker
Jason M Parker

Scott Shoemaker that happens with any insurance company for any mode of transport. The drivers use their own insurance. You guys won't stop Lyft or Uber.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

You know you are probably dealing with a whiny generation Y hipster douche when you hear them utter the phrase "it's not fair!". Grow up you fucking babies! Hurry up to beat everyone else to the next trendy little thing!

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

I don't know about you all but my parents to me not to get into a strangers car.

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

Jason. Millions of dollars in medical bills. Lost wages. Permanent disability ? Think again.

Jason M Parker
Jason M Parker

Scott Shoemaker. The Lyft drivers insurance pays

Jason M Parker
Jason M Parker

Remember Mr Tucci of Pasta House empire is on the board. So if u are for Lyft then boycott pasta house

Scott Shoemaker
Scott Shoemaker

If you were in a lyft and got into an accident and were injured. What would be your recourse ?

Myke Henry
Myke Henry

So basically taxi service of st Louis is getting mad because lyft has taken their customers

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

"Yeah but there is a pink mustache on the car! And it's cooler and we don't have a stinky foreign brown person driving us, we have someone hip and cool just like us!"


-douchebag hipster


These are the same type of fucks who used to argue that downloading music from napster was 'sharing' not the theft that it still is. A bunch of self entitled little maggots is what they are.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Tell us more Jillian, what exactly do you find 'creepy' about cabbies? The fact that they tend to be immigrants that are not trendy little self absorbed twats like you are?

qtridge
qtridge

@jaco1175 - Isn't "it's not fair" the standard reply YOU'VE been whining about in the comments section of all of the articles you've been trolling?

Which cab company do you drive for anyway?

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Pasta house is gross and Mr Tucci is a fat bag of shit

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Illegally. Pretty simple, if you are not a self absorbed simpleton that is. Unfortunately most of the 'Me-first' Generation Y hipsters are simpletons AND narcissists who care only about themselves and looking trendier than the next person.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@qtridge no stupid, it's not. I don't drive for any company, but entitled little twerps who don't want to play by the rules get on my nerves, especially when they think the cute little trend is groundbreaking and it's really not. Just because you put a fruit pink mustache on a car and use a phone app to summon it doesn't mean you reinvented the wheel. It just gives you a bad excuse to try to subvert a system in place.

christoferguson
christoferguson

@St_Louis_Ray I have to take taxi's from airport a lot & I ask a lot of questions. Always say most customers Medicare Medicaid

qtridge
qtridge

@jaco1175 - You almost lost me with your previous arguments. Luckily, your calling me stupid changed my mind. Judging from your posts there are A LOT of things that get on your nerves. Maybe you should crawl out of your Mom's basement and get some fresh air?

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