New Yorkers hoping to catch a ride with Lyft today are out of luck.
The company said via email and on its blog that it’s putting off its NYC launch. Lyft had announced launch plans for Brooklyn and Queens earlier this week, and it said yesterday that it would move forward with those plans despite the fact that the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission said the service did not comply with safety and licensing rules.
Now it looks like the company wasn’t able to hold to that stance. It wrote on its blog:
Today we agreed in New York State Supreme Court to put off the launch of Lyft’s peer-to-peer model in New York City and we will not proceed with this model unless it complies with New York City Taxi and Limousine regulations. We will meet with the TLC beginning Monday to work on a new version of Lyft that is fully-licensed by the TLC, and we will launch immediately upon the TLC’s approval. This is a positive step forward and a good demonstration of compromise in balancing innovation with government regulation, and we appreciate the continued efforts of New York City government to find common ground for the betterment of New York.
One of the stranger things about this story is a dispute about whether or not the state Supreme Court issued an injunction today. The New York Attorney General’s office says the court did issue an injunction while Lyft says there was no injunction or restraining order — “the judge adjourned to Monday because we agreed to hold our launch and maintain status quo.” The company goes on to call the attorney general’s claim “a deliberate misstatement.”
We discussed Lyft’s regulatory challenges in New York during today’s (now slightly out-of-date) episode of CrunchWeek.