Buffalo Operators Spur Action to Halt Lyft

Tom Halligan
Posted on May 16, 2014

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

Related Topics: Buffalo, David Bastian, Kevin Barwell, LBTOUNY, limo tradeshows, Lyft, mobile applications, regulatory enforcement, Sidecar, state regulations, TNCs, Uber, vehicle apps

Comments ( 1 )
  • JD

     | about 6 years ago

    I really wish people would do their research before attacking new companies in Buffalo. We're a city who likes to talk about being welcoming and embracing new business and self employment and when it happens: we tear it to shreds instead. This is not a matter of safety nor proper licensing and insurance - it's a money game and we all know it. Lyft is a safer, friendlier, and cheaper alternative to using livery services because you aren't obligated to pay anything at all. It's founded on trust and good will which shockingly does still exist. You can easily find information about the driver DMV checks, background checks and other safety information on Lyft's website. In addition you can find their insurance information; specifically that drivers are insured up to $1 million dollars per incident when they are in driver mode. They're insured by Metlife and the plan takes precedence over the driver's personal insurance. Finally; no laws are being violated. If you review the NYSDOT (New York State Department of Transportation) livery guidelines, Lyft Drivers are not required to be licensed NYSDOT under exemptions one and two since they are neither directly employed by Lyft (independent contractors), nor are they driving fleet vehicles.

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