Lyft

(courtesy of Uber)

Updated at 9:30 p.m. with comments from Uber.

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.

Sergio Ruiz (https://flic.kr/p/hvgyTB) / Flickr

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.

James Cridland via Flickr

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?

Sergio Ruiz (https://flic.kr/p/goMJsj) / Flickr

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. 

Courtesy of Lyft

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. 

Courtesy of Lyft

On April 18th, the ride-sharing service Lyft entered the St. Louis market with a party on Cherokee Street.

And immediately, it ran into legal trouble.

Lyft's drivers were operating in violation of a cease-and-desist order from the region’s taxi regulator. A few days later, a judge ordered the company to disable its mobile app.

Lyft and the Metropolitan Taxicab Commission are back in court on May 14 arguing over whether the company should be allowed to operate — and who has the power to regulate it in the first place.

Who are the players?

Courtesy of Lyft

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.

Courtesy of Lyft

(Updated at 4 p.m., Mon., April 21)

A St. Louis judge has told a new ride share service that it must halt its operation in the city and county.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Taxi Cab Commission sued "Lyft" last week for entering the region’s market without registering.

Lyft allows customers to summon drivers using an app on their cell phones. Once the ride is over, customers pay the driver through credit card information stored within the application.