The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission on Tuesday loosened some of the restrictions on premium sedan companies in the city, in an effort to convince Uber to enter the market.
The San Francisco-based ride-share company wanted to open up the possibility of more competition in the black car market before it would even apply for a license to operate Uber Black here. The app dispatches already-licensed premium sedans from a smart phone.
The courtroom battle between ride-sharing app Lyft and the taxi commission came to a close Wednesday. After four days of testimony. Both sides have called their last witnesses. The taxi commission is seeking a preliminary injunction in St. Louis Circuit Court to prevent Lyft from doing business.
Lyft's strategy during the trial was essentially tit for tat. For every expert the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission called, Lyft had one to match -- and more.
Wednesday marked the fourth day of the Lyft hearing in downtown St. Louis. The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission (MTC) sees the ride-sharing app as a taxi service, and wants Lyft to comply with existing regulations. But Lyft says it is a “friend with a car,” not a taxi. Who has the stronger legal argument?
The legal battle between the ride-sharing app Lyft and the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission continued for a third day today at the Carnahan Courthouse.
Lyft representative Joseph Okpaku spent yet another day on the witness stand. Okpaku testified Monday that the company is not a cab service, that its cars are not "vehicles for hire," and that Lyft's insurance was better than what St. Louis requires of its taxis. The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission, which is seeking a preliminary injunction against Lyft to stop doing business in St. Louis, challenged Okpaku's assertions Tuesday.
Missouri's Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, weighed in on a St. Louis matter Monday. He took the stand on behalf of Lyft in a court hearing over whether or not the ride sharing app should be considered a car or a taxicab. In his testimony, Kinder explained how he tried to book a Lyft car a few weeks ago, only to learn, to his dismay, that St. Louis's taxi commission was blocking the startup.
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.