ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Lyft is an outlaw.
The app-dispatched car-share service continues to operate, despite a St. Louis judge’s injunction. Judge David Dowd yesterday refused to lift his temporary restraining order against Lyft.
However, KMOX News found an inaccuracy in part of the plaintiff’s argument for that ruling.
The attorney for the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission declared in court that Lyft’s background checks aren’t up to snuff, as witnessed by the weekend arrest of a Lyft driver on an outstanding felony.
But when KMOX News asked the police department for more information, we were told there were no arrests of Lyft drivers and none of them were found to have an outstanding warrant.
When we asked Charles Billings, the commission’s attorney, for an explanation, he said he was given inaccurate information by what he thought was a reliable source. He would not identify that source.
He also maintained that the revelation shouldn’t change the judge’s decision, because Lyft drivers “are not checked out at the same level” as those hired by taxicab commission-sanctioned cab companies.
Meanwhile, as Lyft continues to claim it is not subject to commission oversight, Mayor Slay hopes for a cease fire. He’d like to see both Lyft and competitor Uber with cars on city streets soon.
And the Mayor says that if commission members are protecting cab companies and, as a result, are deliberately stifling innovation, they should lose their jobs.
“I want to make clear that the taxicab commission is not in place to stymie competition,” he told a KMOX reporter on Tuesday. “That is not their job.”
He understands the feelings of entrepreneur Marshall Haas, who earlier this week expressed concerns that the Lyft lock-out could harm St. Louis’ efforts to become a ‘start-up city.’
“Absolutely. And we get that,” the mayor said, explaining, “what happened is, [Lyft] came in, and they started operating in a way that was contrary to the regulations that already were in place.”
He added: “We’re going to work on making this an app-based, service-car friendly city. We’ll be better as a result.”
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