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Transportation

Lyft's New York Launch Halted By Restraining Order 92

Posted by timothy
from the restraining-competition-is-more-like-it dept.
Forbes reports that Lyft's planned expansion into the New York market has been delayed by a restraining order. The article explains that State officials had asked Lyft to delay its launch. When Lyft refused, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office filed a temporary restraining order against the startup Friday morning to prevent its launch. Other statements said that the restraining order had been granted, though Simpson said that was untrue. Lyft and officials will reconvene in court Monday for a hearing. Lyft will not launch until it has reached an agreement with the city, Simpson said. Since Monday, when Lyft announced it was planning to launch in the two boroughs [of Queens and Brooklyn], the app has faced criticism from city officials. The taxi and limousine commission declared the app 'unauthorized' and said its riders were at risk and its drivers could be cited and fined if they were caught using it. Lyft seems to have left riders mostly unscathed in Boston, where it's been operating since early last year, and in numerous other cities. Also at Ars Technica.
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Lyft's New York Launch Halted By Restraining Order

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  • by bogaboga (793279) on Friday July 11, 2014 @07:11PM (#47435619)

    If the USA is the bastion of freedom, capitalism and independence, why are cab licenses limited by city bureaucrats? Why not let everyone who qualifies swim in the taxicab business leaving those who cannot stand the waters perish? I just don't get it!

  • by waynecollc (3743151) on Friday July 11, 2014 @07:14PM (#47435625)
    "The taxi and limousine commission declared the app 'unauthorized' and said its riders were at risk" I lived in NYC on and off for most of a decade and I can assure you that as a pedestrian the act of stepping into the street was a game of roulette and that yellow cabs were the greatest cause of un-safe living. I can hardly think of anything more hazardous for your health than for NYC to prop up a crony monopoly of yellow cars and all that comes with it. Continue to disrupt, fellow entrepreneurs!
  • by hsthompson69 (1674722) on Friday July 11, 2014 @07:31PM (#47435693)

    Otherwise known as, "regulation to keep the competition out".

    It seems to me that the tendency to over-regulate in order to give advantage to existing market movers simply isn't justified. Yes, you need to deal with liability, but there's nothing that says that over-regulation is the only (or the best) way to do it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 11, 2014 @07:52PM (#47435783)

    I just don't get it!

    Follow the money. Selling taxi medallions is a huge source of revenue and graft.

    You are half right. Businesses LOVE government regulation and artificial limits because it restricts competition.

    Incumbent businesses do NOT like free markets. They want the market free for THEM and only THEM.

    Does anyone REALLY believe we live in a free market economy and a democracy?

    We live in a crony capitalistic society with a monetaristic democracy - the more money you have, the more "votes" you have - thanks to Super PACS.

  • by Wrath0fb0b (302444) on Friday July 11, 2014 @08:36PM (#47435979)

    If the USA is the bastion of freedom, capitalism and independence, why are cab licenses limited by city bureaucrats? Why not let everyone who qualifies swim in the taxicab business leaving those who cannot stand the waters perish? I just don't get it!

    Because historically taxis have engaged in a number of fraudulent and unsavory practices, outright racism in some cases and have generally made cities look bad. So there was a legitimate reason to regulate them in order to ensure that they didn't bilk (or take the long route) for gullible tourists, refuse rides to people of the wrong color, install fake meters, organize into a racket to overcharge customer or skip on carrying decent insurance.

    Then, lo-and-behold, the well-meaning regulators were captured [wikipedia.org] by the taxicabs (because they were smart) and turned around and instituted any number of illegitimate regulations designed to stifle competition. This is generally pretty easy in a democracy because when there's a small number of cabbies with a very large interest in certain policies, they can often get their way when there are a large number of citizens with contrary interests. It's the law of diffused costs versus concentrated benefits.

    So now, instead of being predictably idiotic with our left/right pro/anti regulation, maybe we should think about stupid regulation versus smart regulation. Then we could distinguish a rule require cabbies to carry insurance for their passengers with one that limits the number of medallions to some artifical number. Or one that requires accurate metering of any form with one that requires a specific brand or type of metering. Or a law that requires cabbies to serve any part of the city with one that requires them to drive home from the airport empty instead of picking up a fare immediately after dropping one off (this one really I don't understand -- there is a line for cabs at the terminal!).

    On the other hand, nah, let's just hurf about it....

I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck. -- Rob Pike, on X.

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