In February of this year, the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission approved a license for Carmel Car and Limo to operate their cab-hailing smartphone app in St. Louis. But the commission has not been so welcoming to ride-share service Lyft, which also wants to enter the St. Louis market.
Unlike Carmel, Lyft does not partner with existing taxi companies. Instead, it connects riders to drivers in what it calls a “peer-to-peer model.” As such, the company did not see the need to get permission to operate from the taxicab commission.
After the commission sued Lyft for operating without registering with the commission, St. Louis Judge David Dowd placed a temporary restraining order against Lyft last week, telling the company to deactivate their app in St. Louis for the time being.
St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann appeared on St. Louis on the Air today to explain the evolving situation. She said the future is a bit uncertain at the moment, because Lyft has requested the suit be moved to the federal level. Currently the state hearing has been set for May 6.
In the meantime, Lyft’s app is still in service in St. Louis and the company’s signature pink mustache has been seen about town. At least one citation has been issued to a driver for not having the proper licensing, but passengers are not breaking any laws for being along for the ride.