MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The folks at Lyft are throwing a party and readying to add the cars with the pink mustaches to the streets of Minneapolis.
Lyft revolves around a smartphone app that links passengers and drivers for what they call a peer-to-peer experience.
“We encourage our passengers to sit in the front seat,” Lyft’s Alma Aldrich said. “We first bump at the start and end of every Lyft, and your driver will be able to take you wherever you need to go in the city.”
Riders pay through the app and since there’s no meter, St. Paul says the cars aren’t taxis. Lyft feels it doesn’t violate Minneapolis regulations either, releasing a statement saying, “Lyft’s new peer-to-peer model does not violate the existing regulations for taxis and for hire vehicles.”
Minneapolis disagrees, and plans to tag and tow cars that don’t have the proper insurance, saying in a statement of its own, “ensuring that the proper insurance is in place is one of the reasons we require licensing in the first place.”
“There are liabilities there,” said Waleed Sonbol, General Manager of Blue & White Taxi, who says his cabs have to pass the same inspections as emergency vehicles. “I hope they send a message that the city of Minneapolis is here to protect who lives in the city, the rider who rides in the city, and also the drivers, who put their hard time into getting there.”
Lyft charges are based on a combination of time and distance, and they claim they are generally 20 to 30 percent cheaper than cabs.
Minneapolis says it’s working with St. Paul and the airport commission to create rules for ride-sharing services like Lyft, and hopes to come out with them by June.