The ride sharing service known as 'Lyft' will continue fighting for recognition and legal status in San Antonio, despite a crackdown by police which may soon involve the seizing of Lyft drivers' cars, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Lyft was shot down on Wednesday as drivers appealed to a City Council committee to allow them to compete openly and on a level playing field with established and regulated taxi drivers. Police say they have ticketed 10 Lyft ridesharing drivers, and the next step is impounding the vehicles which are used to illegally transport passengers for hire.
"We're not looking to duck our responsibility, we just want to enact a regulatory framework that acknowledges the fundamental differences between ride sharing on one hand and more traditional forms of transportation," Lyft spokesman Joseph Okpaku told 1200 WOAI's MIchael Board.
The city continues siding with established taxi drivers, and point out that getting a Lyft with Lyft could lead to serious complications. Yellow Cab says all of it's drivers and fully insured and bonded. But Okpaku says Lyft has insurance as well.
"We have a one million dollar liability policy," he said. "That is sixteen times what is currently required for taxis in San Antonio."
Lyft, which bills itself as 'your friend with a car' operates on a business model known as 'ride sharing.' The idea is that people who own cars can earn some extra money by picking up other people who need transportation and collecting 'gas money' in return. They say its no different than if your car was broken down and you asked your brother to take you to the store, and they point out that the city doesn't presume to regulate, ticket, or seize the vehicles of people who do that.
"The more transportation options you have, the better it is for everybody," Okpaku said. "It helps the economy and it is good for tourism."
Taxi drivers say Lyft and other 'ride sharing' services like Uber discriminate against people who don't have debit cards and smart phones, because that's the only way you can summon a Lyft driver. They also point out that the average San Antonio taxi driver has spent $12,000 outfitting his or her car with equipment to carry disabled people, something Lyft drivers can't do, when means Lyft is essentially violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The city, at least for now, continues to side with established taxi companies. But Okpaku says he is confident that Lyft will eventually get the green light in San Antonio.