In an agreement entered into today, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin M. Lawsky have agreed to allow the ride-sharing app Lyft to operate in New York State. The company will launch in New York City with commercial drivers only and will operate in a manner that is consistent with existing laws and regulations.
“After making positive progress with local and state leaders, Lyft will launch in all five boroughs of New York City,” read a statement from the company. “We’ve finalized an agreement to offer immediate access to our friendly, affordable rides through a TLC-licensed model beginning at 7 p.m. [Friday].”
“We are firmly committed to the notion that regulators can work constructively with companies so that new ideas can come to the market — and that smart regulation should create an environment where innovators can compete,” read a joint statement from Attorney General Schneiderman and Superintendent Lawsky.
In addition, the company will suspend its current operations in Buffalo and Rochester by August 1, 2014, and has committed that it will work with the State so that any future business it undertakes in New York is in full compliance with the law.
“We will continue to work with Lyft so that any future business it undertakes meets that standard and protects consumer safety,” the AG’s statement added. “We look forward to exploring solutions that enable companies in the sharing economy to operate and thrive throughout New York State.”
The Taxi Workers’ Alliance–which protested Lyft’s Opening Bushwick Gala earlier this month–offered tepid support for the start-up, based on the agreement’s terms.
“It’s what Lyft should have applied for from the beginning,” said Bhairavi Desai, the NYC Taxi Workers Alliance’s Executive Director. “We hope after this unnecessary grand standing, these companies accept that the anti-worker model of using private cars for taxi rides is not going to happen in New York City.”