Lyft Launches in Minneapolis, Despite City Giving the Red Light

Updated: 02/27/2014 10:40 PM
Created: 02/27/2014 2:49 PM
By: Tom Durian

The car sharing service "Lyft" launched in Minneapolis Thursday, despite the city saying it is still technically illegal.

The company has been up and running in St. Paul since the summer, where officials with the city say they have received no complaints. In August, when they launched, Lyft says they decided to hold off on Minneapolis while their lawyers worked through differences.

Some six months later the issues have not been resolved. The City of Minneapolis sent this statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:

"At this point, the city has no evidence that Lyft drivers have commercial liability insurance, and their personal liability insurance does not cover a driver if they're carrying a passenger for money. That leaves a serious gap in protecting customers and drivers."

A Lyft spokesperson at the company headquarters in San Francisco responded saying:

"Lyft's new peer-to-peer model does not violate the existing regulations for taxis and for hire vehicles. We have been in touch with city leaders in Minneapolis to discuss our model and strict safety measures that go beyond what is required of taxis and limos."

Lyft officials added that in addition to the normal insurance required to operate a vehicle, the company provides a $1,000,000 liability policy, as well.

The company says they stand behind their drivers as they work through the challenges with the city. Minneapolis says they have taken "enforcement action" against 3 Uber-X drivers. Uber-X is the ride sharing arm of the car service Uber.

The city says they expect to have regulations in effect for the companies like Lyft and Uber-X by June.

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