Opponents Move to Shave ‘Lyft’ Mustache in Maryland

Nov 22, 2013

Credit Lyft Publicity Photo

A Baltimore taxi company and the state Office of People’s Counsel are moving to block the ride-sharing company Lyft from operating in Maryland.

The state Public Service Commission is scheduled Monday to address requests from Yellow Transportation and the People’s Counsel.

Yellow, owners of a large fleet of taxis in the city, is seeking a cease-and-desist order against Lyft until the company meets regulatory requirements. Meanwhile, the People’s Counsel is asking for an investigation into Lyft’s operation and an emergency hearing.

The People’s Counsel expressed concern about the company’s reliance on drivers without carrier or for-hire licenses as well as “insurance issues revolving around the company.”

Lyft, which launched in Baltimore in October, is based on a smartphone app that pairs people needing rides to drivers nearby who are headed in the same direction.

Dwight Kines, regional vice president with Veolia Transportation - owners of Yellow Transportation - said his firm will do everything it can to make sure companies like Lyft follow regulations.

In its filing, the People’s Counsel said Lyft’s continued operation “may lead to immediate, substantial and irreparable harm to the riding public”  as well as vehicle owners in the state.

Lyft officials say they have a $1 million liability insurance policy that covers drivers in the event that their personal insurance policies will not pay out.

An email sent by Lyft Baltimore Community Manager Olivia Brown is asking members to send emails to commissioners to lobby on the company’s behalf.  Officials at the company's San Francisco headquarters said they are in touch with the commission and look forward to working with them.