Need a Lyft? PRC says 'No More Mustache Rides'

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No more mustache rides.  That’s the message from New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission to Lyft this week.

Lyft, the innovative phone app that connects drivers with free seats to riders with tired feet, popped-up in Albuquerque a few weeks back to much acclaim.   ‘Burquenos love seeing the pink-mustache clad cars driving around town but it appears their ride ended sooner than expected.

Lobbyists for cab companies have a lot of influence with the PRC.  People with furry pink mustaches haven’t needed much help there, until now.

On Wednesday, May 21, the Public Regulation Commission issued a temporary order (advocated by the cab companies) to shut down Lyft pending a show cause hearing on June 2.  The PRC’s staff is operating under the premise that the service operating as a taxi service which is regulated by the agency that is better known for regulating energy companies.

Update: Lyft says screw you, PRC.  Lyft announced that it would continue to operate its app because the PRC has no jurisdiction to regulate it.  Some drivers have reportedly hung up their mustaches pending the outcome of the June hearing.

Lyft plans to keep rolling despite PRC order | ABQ Business First | May 22, 2014

This isn’t the first time Lyft has been forced to cease and desist Lyft has been ordered to put the brakes on in St. Louis, but it’s been able to overcome legal challenges and attempts at strict regulation in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Seattle. In Seattle they limited the amount of Lyft drivers that can be on the road. Despite the opposition in these cities, Lyft wasn’t out for long.

Although Lyft is still halted from operating in St. Louis, they are embroiled in a legal battle to get them back on the roads. Lyft continues to expand, and just launced in Miami last night.

Our Take
Albuquerque should be embracing entities like Lyft, which operates in about 60 cities across the country. The app is popular among hipsters, young people, innovative green-types and tired people alike.  Innovative tech applications that create commerce (passengers tip drivers through the app) are cool new businesses a state with one of the worst economies in the country should embrace.

What’s more, it provides a reliable and safe option for those who want to enjoy a night out on the town.

Public transportation in ABQ leaves a lot to be desired.  Enter the private market to solve a problem.  And, apparently, it does a pretty good job: a recent race between Lyft and a cab company by the ABQ Business First found that Lyft got to the location nearly an hour earlier and cheaper.  Educating the PRC on the Lyft model is key to their understanding the difference.

Lyft does background checks on drivers and carries a $1,000,000 insurance policy on each driver.  Passengers and drivers are rated and creepy ones of either set are squeezed out.

Do you think Lyft should come back? Call the PRC and tell them to get Lyft rolling again. Tell them that Lyft isn’t a taxi service and therefore shouldn’t be regulated like one.

We talked to PRC Commissioner Karen Montoya (Albuquerque-area commissioner) and she notes that the decision is not final and welcomes public comments to her office.

The PRC is made up of five elected members. Send the PRC a letter online.  Tell them to save Lyft and we’ll deliver it ASAP.  Send your online letter here. 

Save Lyft

OR

Albuquerque’s PRC commissioner is Karen Montoya. Call her here.

It’s going to be a busy weekend in the Duke City, and Albuquerque deserves to have a fun, reliable, and safe ride around town.