After attempting to launch its "ride share" service two weeks ago without commercially licensed drivers, Lyft has trimmed its mustache and complied with the TLC and Attorney General demands. The company, which has proven successful in cities nationwide, will debut tonight at 7 p.m. in all five boroughs. Here's Lyft's announcement:
We’ve finalized an agreement to offer immediate access to our friendly, affordable rides through a TLC-licensed model beginning at 7 p.m. Lyft will serve all corners of the city from Manhattan to Staten Island, starting with a limited beta launch and then a full rollout in coming weeks. Now, residents and visitors looking to travel between boroughs, get to the closest subway station, or head out for a night on the town can easily request a safe and reliable ride. This agreement is the first big step in finding a home for Lyft’s peer-to-peer model in New York. Community-powered transportation — neighbors driving neighbors in their personal cars — ensures broader access to more affordable rides in places with limited transit options, like the outer boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens.
Earlier this month New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman slapped Lyft with a restraining order when it tried to launch here, alleging that ride-share service—which uses non-professional drivers who work for "donations"—did not comply with New York safety regulations and would violate a number of city laws, “including most notably provisions of the Insurance and Vehicle and Traffic Law."
Today Schneiderman issued a statement explaining that Lyft "has agreed to operate in New York State in full compliance with existing laws and regulations. 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... 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. Lyft's launch in New York City -- in full compliance with laws and regulations -- is proof positive of this principle."
Check out Lyft's website if you want a stranger to come pick you up in a car with a giant mustache on the grill.