Regulations

Buffalo Operators Spur Action to Halt Lyft

Posted on May 16, 2014 by Tom Halligan - Also by this author - About the author

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Based on May 6 testimony by members of the Limousine, Bus & Taxi Operators of Upstate New York (LBTOUNY) before the Buffalo Common Council, Councilmember Joseph Golombek this week requested the city’s law department issue a “cease and desist” letter to Lyft, Uber and Rideshare.

The quick action by council comes after eye-opening testimony by members of LBTOUNY who educated council on the numerous regulatory violations by Lyft, the only TNC operating in the Buffalo-Rochester region.

In addition to convincing testimony by LBTOUNY President Kevin Barwell (Giorgios Limousine), David Bastian (Towne Livery), and LBTOUNY Vice President, Bill Yuhnke (Liberty Cab), Yuhnke had council watch a video from an NBC Chicago investigation of UberX — reinforcing testimony that TNCs violate standard municipal codes and regulations governing the limousine and taxi industries.

Lyft started its service in April under the radar of city officials until the LBTOUNY brought the on-demand mobile app ride service to their attention at the meeting.

“Lyft drivers are operating illegally and don’t meet the requirements of many municipalities around the country,” testified Bastian. “They don’t have proper insurance — or no insurance — so people don’t know what they are getting into when the use Lyft … it’s about the public’s safety as well as them not meeting legal requirements.”

Barwell told council that TNCs are “plague,” adding that they operate without legal plates, insurance and licenses required under city codes and regulations.

—Tom Halligan, LCT East Coast editor

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